A CNN panel on Wednesday was aghast over Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) press conference decrying House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), with “Situation Room” host Wolf Blitzer remarking this is a “moment you don’t see very often.”
Nunes made the media rounds Wednesday in an attempt to support President Donald Trump’s seemingly unfounded claim that former President Barack Obama “wire tapped” Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential election, insisting the current president may have been monitored legally through “incidental collection.” Nunes told Trump first about this development—prior to notifying the House Intelligence Committee—leading the president to say he feels “somewhat” vindicated for claiming his predecessor wiretapped him.
Schiff in response blasted Nunes for failing to share the information with the committee, adding Nunes’ claim does “not suggest — in any way — that the President was wiretapped by his predecessor.” Schiff later said Nunes was acting as a “surrogate for the Trump administration” with his announcement.
CNN’s Gloria Borger noted that Schiff “basically said that Nunes was working” for the White House, and trying to “deflect from the … testimony” FBI Director James Comey gave Monday, which confirmed an FBI investigation in potential ties between Russian officials and Trump officials.
CNN political director David Chalian noted that Schiff basically said “you can’t trust what’s coming out of this committee on this hugely important investigation.”
“You are now being told by the number 2 on the committee here: don’t trust this committee,” Chalian said, adding Nunes is essentially “trying to provide cover to Donald Trump” for his unfounded wiretap claim.
Borger argued Nunes “seemed to be making the case for the White House, rather than serving as the chairman of an impartial committee.”
“You have to ask the question: why did he go to the West Wing before he called Adam Schiff, his Democratic counterpart,” Borger added.
Former CIA analyst Phil Mudd explained that incidental collection—which Nunes was so concerned about—is a “common procedure” in the intelligence community.
“This is not complicated, it’s common,” Mudd said.
Later in the panel, Borger asked “whether Nunes was trying in a way to prove the president’s point,” adding, “the administration believes that this gives the president some cover.”
Despite the president’s claim, Chalian argued Trump is “not vindicated at all.”
“It looks like the whole thing has now been compromised,” Blitzer said.
Watch the video below, via CNN: