House intel chief says no evidence of wiretap warrant

  • The only crime his committee knows was committed, Devin Nunes said, was the leaking of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's conversations
  • 'There was no FISA warrant that I'm aware of to tap Trump Tower,' the California Republican stated on Fox News Sunday 
  • Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House panel, accused Trump of leading Congress on a 'wild goose chase' in a competing interview on NBC
  • FBI Director James Comey will have to testify on the matter tomorrow in front of the House committee during a hearing on Russian meddling in the 2016 election
  • Will Hurd, a Republican on the panel, said Sunday that he believes it's time for Trump to apologize for the incredible assault on the former president
  • Ted Cruz defended his former rival, claiming in an interview that the'Obama administration targeted their political enemies'

By Francesca Chambers, White House Correspondent For Dailymail.com

Published: 14:30 EDT, 19 March 2017 | Updated: 01:00 EDT, 20 March 2017

House Intelligence chief Devin Nunes says the FBI provided no evidence on Friday of a warrant to wiretap Trump Tower.

The only electronic surveillance his committee knows of, Nunes said, was the monitoring of calls between former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the United States.

'There was no FISA warrant that I'm aware of to tap Trump Tower,' the California Republican stated on Fox News Sunday.'

He also said: "Was there a physical wiretap of Trump Tower? No, there never was. The information we received Friday continues to lead us in that direction."

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the panel, accused Trump of leading Congress on a 'wild goose chase' in a competing interview on NBC's Meet the Press. 

 House Intelligence chief Devin Nunes says the FBI provided no evidence on Friday of a warrant to wiretap Trump TowerAdam Schiff, the top Democrat on the panel, accused Trump of leading Congress on a 'wild goose chase' in a competing interview on NBC's Meet the Press

House Intelligence chief Devin Nunes says the FBI provided no evidence on Friday of a warrant to wiretap Trump Tower (left). Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the panel, accused Trump of leading Congress on a 'wild goose chase' in a competing interview on NBC's Meet the Press (right)

The Justice Department complied on Friday with a demand from the committee to turn over evidence relating to Trump's claims that Barack Obama wiretapped him. It sent copies of the materials to a companion committee in the Senate, as well.

Schiff says he received a classified briefing on the documents Friday after most lawmakers had left town.

'Once again, no evidence to support the President's claim that he was wiretapped by his predecessor,' he said.  

Making reference to a colleague's claim that legislative bodies need to 'get to the bottom' of Trump's allegations, Schiff said: 'We are at the bottom of this.'

'There is nothing at the bottom,' he added.

Nunes, commenting on the wiretapping allegation on Fox, said, 'If you take the president literally, it didn't happen.'

'Was there a physical wiretap of Trump Tower? No, but there never was, and the information we got on Friday continues to lead us in that direction.'

FBI Director James Comey will have to testify on the matter tomorrow in front of the House Intelligence Committee during a hearing on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Will Hurd, a Republican on the panel, said in a Sunday morning appearance that he believes it's time for Trump to apologize for the incredible assault on the former president.

'It never hurts to say you're sorry,' Hurd, a former undercover CIA operative, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. 'It's not just sorry to the president, but also to the U.K. for the claims or the intimation that the U.K. was involved in this, as well.' 

 FBI Director James Comey will have to testify on the matter tomorrow in front of the House Intelligence Committee during a hearing on Russian meddling in the 2016 election

FBI Director James Comey will have to testify on the matter tomorrow in front of the House Intelligence Committee during a hearing on Russian meddling in the 2016 election

 
 The US government has not backed up President Trump's claim that Obama ordered intelligence agencies to spy on him during the 2016 election. Trump is seen arriving in Palm Beach on Friday ahead of another weekend at the 'Winter White House'

The US government has not backed up President Trump's claim that Obama ordered intelligence agencies to spy on him during the 2016 election. Trump is seen arriving in Palm Beach on Friday ahead of another weekend at the 'Winter White House'

Trump's White House on Thursday brought British intelligence into the saga when it referred to a report on Fox & Friends that claimed Obama had the GCHQ spy on Trump for him.

The British government immediately slapped down the claim, made by Fox's Judge Andrew Napolitano. 

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer nevertheless repeated it as he read off a list of news reports on Thursday that purportedly supported the president's claim that Obama spied on him.

 TIME TO APOLOGIZE? Republican Rep. Will Hurd says Trump needs to tell Barack Obama he's sorry for claiming that he spied on him 

TIME TO APOLOGIZE? Republican Rep. Will Hurd says Trump needs to tell Barack Obama he's sorry for claiming that he spied on him 

Spicer told a reporter in the same briefing that he was not accusing the British of bad behavior.

'All we’re doing is literally reading off what other stations and people have reported,' he said, 'and I think that casts into concern some of the activities that may have occurred during the ’16 election.' 

Britain's spy service shredded the charge.

A GCHQ spokesperson said the claims were 'nonsense.'

'They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored,' press officer said in a statement. 

Spicer reportedly issued an apology to the British ambassador to the United States, although the White House says he merely restated his position during a call.

Trump was unapologetic when he was asked about the international incident by a German reporter during a news conference on Friday afternoon at the White House.

'We said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn’t make an opinion on it,' Trump said. 'That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. And so you shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox, okay?'

In an awkward moment, Trump extended a  hand to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was standing at a podium to his right, and said, 'at least we have something in common, perhaps.' 

Merkel is known to have been a subject of Obama administration wiretapping. The embarrassing information was disclosed in leaked US documents by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Trump's comment Friday had some attendees of the televised event gasping and others laughing as a visibly affected Merkel squinted and turned her gaze down.

Reacting to the incident this morning, Trump's Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press that the president's remark 'was sort of tongue in cheek.'

Schiff said on the same program that he believes Comey will end speculation about the alleged tapping of Trump in his testimony on Monday.

'I expect that he will. And I hope that we can put an end to this wild goose chase because what the president said was just patently false,' the California Democrat said. 'And the wrecking ball it created now has banged into our British allies and our German allies, it's continuing to grow in terms of damage, and he needs to put an end to this.' 

On Face the Nation House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, another member of the House Intelligence Committee, blasted Trump was the 'Deflector-in Chief' because 'he’ll come up with anything to change the subject from something that’s not going well for him.' 

Pelosi agreed that Comey should address the allegation at the hearing tomorrow.

'If he doesn’t, I think that he should be asked to do so, and why wouldn’t he?' she asked.

 Schiff (left) said he believes Comey will end speculation about the alleged tapping of Trump in his testimony on Monday. He and Nunes are pictured at a news conference last week on Capitol Hill

Schiff (left) said he believes Comey will end speculation about the alleged tapping of Trump in his testimony on Monday. He and Nunes are pictured at a news conference last week on Capitol Hill

Trump's sole defender in the legislature on Sunday was Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. 

'I think it would be quite good for the administration to put forward what evidence there is,' the Texas lawmaker said on Face the Nation. 'I will point out this is not necessarily as outlandish as everyone in the press suggest.'

Cruz, a rival of Trump's in the GOP primary for president last year, argued that the 'Obama administration targeted their political enemies.'

'We do know that the IRS for example, targeted citizens' groups who spoke out in defense of the Constitution, who spoke out against Obama,' he said. 'And so the notion is not necessarily outlandish, but it's serious. So it needs to be based on facts.' 

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union that he has not seen any intelligence that would indicate that the spying happened, however.

'Not that I have seen, and not that I'm aware of,' he told host Jake Tapper.

Cotton is a Republican serving on Senate Intelligence.

'Like the House committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee will review the specific claim,' he said. 'But I do think it's important that we look at the broader context here. 

'As you said, the House committee hearing tomorrow is going to be in part about the unsubstantiated allegations in the media and by some Democrats of collusion between Trump associates and Russian intelligence.'

 UNLIKELY ALLY: Trump's sole defender in the legislature on Sunday was Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. The Texas lawmaker said on Face the Nation, 'I will point out this is not necessarily as outlandish as everyone in the press suggest'

UNLIKELY ALLY: Trump's sole defender in the legislature on Sunday was Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. The Texas lawmaker said on Face the Nation, 'I will point out this is not necessarily as outlandish as everyone in the press suggest'

Cotton noted that Obama's director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said he'd seen no evidence of a connection between the Trump campaign and the Russians. 

Schiff made reference to the same Clapper claim on Meet the Press and said that he was surprised the former DNI said that because 'I don't think you can make that claim categorically, as he did.

'I would characterize it this way, at the outset of the investigation, there was circumstantial evidence of collusion. There was direct evidence, I think, of deception,' he said.

The Democrat said investigation will not necessarially lead to a grand jury or criminal indictment.  'But there was certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation.' 

At tomorrow's hearing, Schiff said Comey will likely be limited in what he can share publicly on that topic. 

'But there's a lot he can tell us about the Russian motivations for their intervention in our election, how the Russians operate in Europe, what techniques they use and what we should be on the lookout for in our investigation in Europe and other places,' he said. 'The full range of Russian intervention and what that looks like.'

As far as an election conspiracy between Trump operatives and the Russians goes, Nunes said he had seen 'no evidence' of that.

'Up to speed on everything I have up to this morning, no evidence of collusion,' he said. 

Nunes said he his hoping to find out if anyone other than Flynn was swept up in government spying on Russian officials like Sergey Kislyak.

Flynn's conversations with the Russian ambassador were picked up by the FBI in routine surveillance, information that was then leaked to the press.

'The one crime that we know that's been committed is that one - the leaking of someone's name through the FISA system. That is a crime that has been committed,' Nunes told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.

Nunes believes government workers who were loyal to and left with or shortly after Obama did the leaking.

'I think that's pretty clear. It's pretty clear that that's happening. There's even been stories written about it in numerous newspapers talking about how they said they left breadcrumbs around to hurt the Trump administration,' he said. 

Appearing on ABC's This Week Sen. Rand Paul offered the Trump administration some friendly advice about how to handle suspected leakers - haul them in and give them lie detector tests.

'We know one thing for sure, that the Obama administration did spy on Flynn...It is very, very important that whoever released that go to jail, because you cannot have members of the intelligence community listening to the most private and highly classified information and then releasing that to The New York Times,' Paul said.

'There can only be a certain handful of people who did that. I would bring them all in. They would have to take lie detector tests.' 

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By Mathias Dillion 03/20/2017 01:00:00