WASHINGTON -- On the eve of FBI Director James Comey’s testimony on Capitol Hill, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-California, said Sunday -- after he received information on the subject from the FBI -- that there is still no reason to suspect Trump Tower was wiretapped during the 2016 campaign.
On Thursday, Nunes, whose committee is handling the investigation into President Donald Trump’s seemingly unsubstantiated wiretapping claims, said at the Capitol that he didn’t think there “was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” adding that if Mr. Trump’s claims were to be considered literally, then “clearly the president was wrong.”
Asked about the issue on “Fox News Sunday” after receiving information from the FBI on Friday, and whether there’s any reason to amend his earlier statement, Nunes replied: “No.”
“I actually said this a couple of weeks ago that it was -- you know, the president doesn’t go and physically wiretapped something,” he said. “So if you take the president literally, it didn’t happen.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that it’s clear Mr. Trump’s claims about wiretapping are “patently false.”
“What the president said was just patently false, and the wrecking ball it created has now banged into our British allies and our German allies and continuing to grow in terms of damage,” he said. “And he needs to put an end to this.”
Nunes said the “concern” is still about whether any surveillance was used to “unmask” Trump campaign officials -- namely, the ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, whose contact with the Russian ambassador caused him to resign from his post less than a month into the job.
“The other issue though that’s still remaining out there is the unmasking of names and the leaking of names,” he said. “And so there’s a -- you know, we have a lot of surveillance activities in this country and I think the concern that the Trump administration has is, you know, were they actually using surveillance activities to know what they were up to, because we know that that happened with General Flynn. We know that his name was unmasked and we know that it was leaked out to the press.”
Asked whether he believes there is any evidence of “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, Nunes replied: “I’ll give you a very simple answer: No.”
He said that at this point, the only crime for which there has been clear evidence is the leaking of classified information -- namely, Flynn’s name -- and the Intelligence Committee will continue to investigate that.
“That’s the only crime that we know has been committed right now. That we know,” he said. “We know a law has been broken and we need to get to the bottom of it. As it relates to the Russians, we are happy to investigate it because I think Putin is a bad actor on the world stage.”