CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday hammered Republican House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes over his assertion there may have been “incidental collection” of President Donald Trump during the transition.
“You said he could have been, but I don’t know what that means,” Tapper began in a lengthy and contentious interview, pointing out that the incidental collection of communications between Trump associates and Russian officials “doesn’t mean that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.”
Nunes contended that there was “unmasking” of Trump officials during the transition—meaning the naming of American citizens in intelligence reports (as opposed to denoting “American A” or some other designation) which concerned him.
“Just to be clear, there’s still no evidence that President Trump was wiretapped,” Tapper noted.
Nunes agreed with Tapper, but remained concerned about the “unmasking” of U.S. citizens, arguing there “doesn’t appear to be a reason” for the unmasking.
“Perhaps there is,” Nunes conceded.
Tapper pressed Nunes about why he approached Trump with this information first, asking if it was fair for Democrats to “look at you going to the White House and delivering this information to President Trump” and question his “impartiality.”
“It’s not fair for him not to know what’s in these reports,” Nunes replied.
The House Intel Chairman clarified he has “no reason to think [the intelligence] wasn’t gathered legally,” later adding, “It’s probably fine, but we have to make sure. The president himself has to see this.”
“Doesn’t President Trump already have access to all that information?” Tapper pressed.
The CNN host later hammered Nunes on Trump’s claim that he felt “somewhat vindicated” but the House Intel Chairman’s report, leading Nunes to insist the president was correct in saying Obama wiretapped him.
“How was he right?” Tapper asked. “You just said he was right.”
“You can make what you want of it, but most people would say [the incidental collection of communications] is surveillance,” Nunes argued.
Watch the videos below, via CNN:
Maddow slams Trump’s era of government officials ‘saving the country from the commander-in-chief’ with leaks
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Maddow reminded of a June 2017 story by Michael Isikoff.
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