tv Devin Nunes Confirms Surveillance of Trump Transition Team CSPAN March 22, 2017 5:20pm-5:41pm EDT
development. the intercepted communications were not captured through wiretaps. congressman nunes this morning spoke to reporters, and we'll show that to you in just a moment, before he headed to the white house. but just to let you know about our coverage of the senate judiciary committee on this third day of the hearing for neil gorsuch for the supreme court. the committee itself has gone into a closed session. and they should be wrapping up about 6:00 eastern or so. a third round of questions anticipated at least by some senators. we will have live coverage here on c-span3 once they resume. in the meantime, let's show you that briefing by nunes this morning. this is at the capitol visitor center on capitol hill before he went down to the white house to speak with president trump. >> good morning. or good afternoon, everyone. as promised, i'm going to continue to keep you apprised of
new developments, some significant developments i think occurred over the course of the last few days with information that was brought to my attention. and i'm just going to read a very brief statement. and that's about all i can tell you. but i want to keep you fully informed of what's happening. at our open hearing on monday, i encouraged anyone who has information about relative topics, including surveillance on president-elect trump or his transition team, to come forward and speak to the house intelligence committee. i also said that while there was not a physical wiretap of trump tower, i was concerned that other surveillance activities were used against president trump and his associates. so first, i recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence committee collected information about u.s. citizens involved in the trump transition. details about u.s. persons,
associated with the incoming administration, details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting. third, i have confirmed that additional names of trump transition team members were unmasked. and fourth and finally, i want to be clear, none of this surveillance was related to russia or the investigation of russian activities, or of the trump team. the house intelligence committee will thoroughly investigate surveillance and its subsequent dissemination. to determine a few things i want to read off. who was aware of it, why it was not disclosed to congress, who requested and authorized the additional unmasking, whether anyone directed the intelligence community to focus on trump associates, and whether any laws, regulations or procedures
were violated. i've asked the directors of fbi, nsa and c.i.a. to expeditiously comply with my march 15th letter which you all received a couple of weeks ago, and to provide a full account of these surveillance activity. i informed speaker ryan this morning of this new information, and i will be going to the white house this afternoon to share what i know with the president and his team. before i get to questions, i want to say that, as you know, there's been what appears to be a terrorist attack in the united kingdom. obviously very concerned and our thoughts and prayers go out to our strong friends and allies over across the pond. and with that, i'll open it up to questions. >> mr. nunes, with any of these communications, were they picked up from trump tower? >> we don't know that yet. that's why we need to get the information.
i will say this, the nsa has been very, very helpful. they know how important these programs are. they are in constant communication with our team. and as you know, they've partially complied with our request last week. and i expect them to hopefully get us more information by friday. and i have spoken to admiral rogers about these concerns. and he wants to comply as quickly as he can. >> was that part of the communications? >> yes. >> they were? >> excuse me. the president of the united states' personal communications were intercepted -- >> i think what we have to -- when we talk about intelligence products here, we've got to be very careful. from what i know right now, it looks like incidental collection. we don't know exactly how that was picked up. but we're trying to get to the bottom of it. >> the president of the united
states' personal communications were an incidental collection? not in specific targeted -- >> it's possible. we won't know until we get the information on friday. and that's why -- look, i think the nsa's going to comply. i am concerned, we don't know whether or not the fbi is going to comply. i'm waiting to hopefully talk to director comey later today. >> can you clarify -- >> hold on. hold on. >> are you concerned that any of the surveillance was done illegally, or incidental, but in a legal -- >> that's a great -- that's a really good question. so i believe it was all done legally. i think it was all obtained legally. i think the question is, was it masked -- you know, why was it unmasked if it was unmasked, as it appears we have new
information about unmaskings. and who was on the dissemination list, and why was it so far if it was specific information about the trump transition. and it appears, just to give you one piece of information, i think it might be helpful. it appears most of this occurred from what i've seen in november, december, and january. so that should probably -- during the transition, that's correct. >> but sir, i'm sorry, could you clarify? you said the president's communications were incidentally collected. you said it's also possible? was it collected or is it possible -- >> i don't know the answer to that yet. >> we don't know if the -- >> look, i know there was incidental collection regarding president-elect and his team. i don't know if it was actually physically a phone call. >> the president himself, was he in the communication? >> i do not know that. >> was the president's conversations in the intelligence reports, is that
what you're saying? >> i have seen intelligence reports that clearly show that the president-elect and his team were, i guess at least monitored and disseminated out in intelligence. what appears to be raw, i shouldn't say raw, but intelligence reporting channels. as best as i can say that, until i actually get all of the information that we've requested. >> [ inaudible ]? >> the administration i don't think is aware of this. i want to make sure i go over there and tell them what i know. because it involves them. >> you say it's not related to russian investigations? >> the information that i have seen has nothing to do with russia or the russian investigation. so bluntly put, everything that i was able to view did not involve russia or any
discussions with russians or any trump people or other russians -- so none of it has to do with russia. that doesn't mean that doesn't exist. but we don't have it. >> can you give a broader sense of what it was related to? >> look, a lot of it appears like it was -- it looks to me like it was all legally collected. but it was essentially a lot of information on the president-elect and his transition team and what they were doing. >> [ inaudible ]? >> i think from what i've seen, it appears to be incidental collection. any other questions here? >> so what was found, just to be clear? was it material that you have seen so far, that doesn't make any reference to russia? >> this information was legally brought to me by sources who thought that we should know it. and it was -- there was -- there were no references whatsoever in
everything that i read, and it was dozens, let's just leave it at that, dozens of reports, and there was no mention of russia. >> [ inaudible ]? >> that's correct. i'm not going to get into the sources, but i wanted to brief the speaker, which is what i did this morning. and obviously i briefed -- i put in calls to the directors. i've spoken to the cia director and nsa director and i'm waiting to talk to director comey. and i'm going to head to the white house after the votes. >> is this a chance to ask you what might have motivated the ban and restrictions on the -- >> look, i'd just refer you to dhs for that, okay? i'm sorry. >> you said repeatedly that the president was wiretapped at trump towers. >> i've always said from day one that there wasn't a physical
wiretap of trump tower. i still have evidence to show that. but clearly, there's -- what i read was clearly significant information about president-elect trump and his team. there were additional names that were unmasked. which is why we sent the letter on the 15th. >> is this a response to the letter that you sent? >> well, we don't know. no, it was not. this was information brought to me by sources, and i'm hoping that nsa, fbi, cia get me anything else that they have. >> do you plan to make this information coming from the source, to make it available now or in the future? >> you mean publicly? it's all classified information. but look, we're hopeful that we're going to get the information that i've seen, plus a lot more information on friday. >> yes, sir? >> was the surveillance a criminal investigation? >> no. nope. it was not. it has nothing to do with any
criminal investigation. this is normal incidental collection from at least from what i was able to read. >> they have to have a basis for the surveillance, isn't that correct? what kind of surveillance were they doing? >> that's correct. it was not criminal. it was normal foreign surveillance. is what it looks like to me. but let's wait until we get all the information. >> it was about president trump, but not his communications specifically? >> as of right now, that's what i've seen. but it's hard to know until we get all the information, and we have time to talk to the appropriate agencies. >> you said you're not confident where the incidental collections took place and you're not talking exactly who it involved? >> no. because all i was able to see were reports. reports on information that was collected. >> how can we be confident that it didn't have anything to do with russia, and the russians?
>> because i read through them and there was no mention of russia. >> specifically -- [ inaudible ] -- or any senior level trump -- >> no, no, no, this appears to be all legally collected foreign intelligence under fisa, where there was incidental collection, that then ended up in reporting channels, and it was widely disseminated. >> can you say which individuals -- >> not at this time. >> what is the reference to paul manaforte that he worked with years ago with vladimir putin? is this part of your committee's investigation? >> we're going to move on probably next week. i haven't talked to mr. schiff yet about the next phase. as you all know, we've asked people to come in on their own, or provide us information on their own. that's clearly happening based
on some, you know, information that's coming in to us. and we'll move into the second stage of the investigation. at that point we'll discuss who will bring in, it will likely be through depositions. >> it sounded like this was routine surveillance. it's incidental. are you surprised at this discovery today? >> i am. because we went through this -- i'm actually alarmed by this. because we went through this about a year and a half ago, as it related to members of congress. if you may remember, there was a report, i think it was in "the wall street journal," then we had to have a whole series of hearings. and then we had to have changes made to how congress is informed of if members of congress are picked up in surveillance. and this looks like it's similar to that. it reminds me of what happened about a year and a half ago. hold on. somebody over here? >> [ inaudible ]? >> i don't know. i mean, look, i've only -- you
know, like i said, i've seen dozens of reports. i don't know if there's more than that. clearly i thought it was important enough for me to at least tell all of you, inform the speaker, and then i'm going to go to the white house and at least let them know what i've seen. because i think -- you know, because i think they need to see it. if they don't have it, they need to see it. we've got two questions at the same time. >> [ inaudible ]? >> there's no question it's official ic information. >> [ inaudible ]? >> i don't want to get into this for the protections of american citizens, as you can imagine. >> which foreign country -- [ inaudible ]? >> i'm not going to get into the exact countries. >> [ inaudible ]?
>> i think we're doing our investigation, we're following the facts where they lead, and clearly i thought this was important enough to come forward and say what i have so far. somebody hasn't asked one. i've got to run. please. >> is there definitely none of this free elections, that this -- >> i don't know that. but what i've seen is post-election. yes, sir? >> is the surveillance itself that alarms you, or the unmasking and dissemination or both? >> all of the above. i'm really concerned about the unmasking. which is why we sent the letter on the 15th. i want to see which names were unmasked. it looks like there are additional names that were unmasked. >> what is it about the surveillance itself that showed it was routine collection? >> from what i read, it bothers me that that would have any
foreign intelligence valuable whatsoever. and why people would need to know that about president-elect trump or his transition team. yes? >> just to be clear, were these communications actually collected inside trump tower? >> we don't know. we don't know that. >> and how -- is there any way -- how do you not know whether or not it was trump's personal communications? wouldn't it be clear if -- >> until i get all the information, i mean, in its entirety from all the agencies, that we can go through it, and then we can go back and ask those types of questions. i would just be speculating at this point. all right, guys, i've got to get -- yes? >> do you think right now, the nsa or a member of the intelligence community was spying on trump? >> well, i guess it all depends on one's definition of spying. clearly it bothers me enough. i'm not comfortable with it, and i want to make sure the white house understands it and that's why i briefed the speaker this
morning on this. >> but you think he may have been spied on? >> i'm not going to get into legal definitions here. but clearly i have a concern. all right, guys, i've got to run to the floor. thank you so very much. thanks. house intelligence committee chair devon nunes there earlier there in the capital today expressing some of his findings on what he called incidental collection, surveillance done of members of the donald trump transition team after the election in 2016. and going into 2017. that was before congressman nunes headed to the white house to talk with president trump and some of his team, as he mentioned, about his findings. we heard a short while ago from the ranking democrat on the house intelligence committee, adam schiff, who expressed his concerns that the chairman of the committee had not shared those findings with the rest of the committee.
and that briefing is available on our website c-span.org. we'll likely show you the comments from congressman nunes later after his visit to the white house. later in our program schedule in the c-span networks. here on c-span3, we're planning to take you back to the senate judiciary committee and their third day of the confirmation hearing for judge neill gorsuch to the supreme court. they've finished their second round of questioning. all 20 members got their questions in. they are in senate votes now. and a closed session for that committee. we expect them sometime after 6:00 eastern to gavel back in and some remaining third-round questions for judge gorsuch. that should do it for him this evening. and the committee will meet one more time tomorrow, and they'll hear from supporters and opponents of the nominee, and a hearing set to get under way tomorrow morning. we'll have that as well here on c-span3.
also going on on capitol hill, the house is preparing for debate tomorrow on the house republican health care law replacement, the house rules committee is meeting and throughout the day the measure has been lobbied by the president, vice president and others, the president meeting with a dozen and a half members of the house republican conference today. and different news organizations tracking where the vote is so far. what they call the whip count, the house freedom caucus earlier today met and came out of that meeting with the news that 25 members of that caucus still not supporting the replacement law. here are some of the latest counts. this one is from nbc capitol hill producer alex who said our latest nbc news, 23 lean no. and 31 republican no. and from mark, the chairman of that house freedom caucus, i'm hopeful we can change the bill.
i'll continue working around the clock to do so. but i cannot support the ahca as it stands. one more note about this evening. it looks like there's going to be a whip meeting. this is ryan grim of "huffington post" saying a whip meeting with the president at the white house this evening. the team would include, of course, the leadership on the republican side. this evening, a run-through of a final count. i want to remind you about the timetable of that. the house meeting tomorrow morning at 9:00 eastern, our live coverage throughout the day, of course, over on c-span. in a minute or two, actually, we're going to take you now -- we'll take you back now to the hart senate office building on capitol hill, the scene of this week's confirmation hearing for judge neill gorsuch. we're expecting questions to get back under way. the chairman's back in the room, so we'll take you there live as well.