Paul Ryan: I never told Nunes to brief Trump on surveillance documents obtained from ‘whistleblower type’
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) can’t offer many details about the investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, but he’s confident that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is the right person to oversee the congressional probe.
Ryan appeared Thursday on “CBS This Morning,” where he told anchor Norah O’Donnell that the House Intelligence Committee chairman had briefed him on documents showing the Trump team had been inadvertently swept up in surveillance of foreign agents.
“He had told me that — like, a whistleblower-type person had given him some information that was new that spoke to the last administration and part of this investigation,” Ryan said. “He briefs me about it, didn’t know the content of it, only knew the nature of it and that he was going to brief others.”
However, Ryan admitted he had not seen those documents, which other members of the intelligence committee have not been shown.
“He didn’t have the documents, so I didn’t,” Ryan said.
Ryan insisted he did not at any point encourage Nunes to brief the president, who Ryan doesn’t believe is under investigation himself, but he knew the committee chairman intended to discuss the documents with numerous officials.
“Oh — he was gonna brief everybody,” Ryan said. “He — I already knew he was going to go and brief. So the — what Chairman Nunes said is he just came into possession of new information that he thought was valuable to this investigation, and that he was going to go and inform people about it.”
Ryan said he wasn’t sure if Nunes ever had the documents he announced in a press conference after secretly obtaining them from an unidentified source at a clandestine meeting on the White House grounds.
“I don’t know that he’s been in possession of them yet,” Ryan said. “Let me say this: It’s very important that we allow and encourage whistleblowers to talk to Congress.”
Ryan couldn’t explain why Nunes had not shown the documents to anyone, and he didn’t say why he hadn’t requested them himself using his access to the most classified intelligence.
“Yeah, we want this information to be provided to Congress, and we’re waiting for it to be provided to Congress,” Ryan said.