15:50 GMT22 October 2020
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    Devin Nunes, chairman of the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, learned about surveillance of President Donald Trump's team from two White House officials who had access to intelligence reports on the matter, media reported on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The New York Times claimed that Ezra Cohen-Watnick of the National Security Council and Michael Ellis, a national security lawyer with the White House Counsel's Office, were connected to the release of the materials related to the surveillance of Trump’s transition team to Nunes.

    The report, however, did not specify what role each of the individuals played.

    Earlier in the day, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that Nunes learned about the surveillance of President Donald Trump's presidential campaign team from a whistleblower source.

    On March 22, Nunes told reporters that the information about Trump team was "incidentally collected" during the transition period. Following the announcement, the intelligence committee chair visited the White House and briefed the US president on the findings. Later, Nunes explained why he decided to brief the press and US President Donald Trump on new intelligence information before telling the ranking Democrat on the committee.

    These actions triggered immediate criticism of the panel's members, who have not been notified in advance about the additional documents related to Trump's wiretapping claim.

    On Tuesday, several prominent Democrats called on congressman Nunes to recuse himself from the probe into alleged Russia's election interference.

    On March 4, Trump took to Twitter to accuse Obama of having his Trump Tower headquarters' "wires tapped" prior to the 2016 presidential election, describing this as the former administration's "new low. The president went on to compare the alleged surveillance to McCarthyism and the Watergate scandal. The claims have been rejected by Obama's representative.

    The US House and Senate Intelligence Committees have found no credible evidence to support Trump's claims.


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