Despite all that we've consistently given Trump the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his claims regarding America's Dark State - and the warrantless mass surveillance methods it has employed in direct contravention of the U.S. Constitution. "Third, I have confirmed that additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked".
In an extraordinary set of statements to reporters, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes said the intercepted communications do not appear to be related to the ongoing FBI investigation into Trump associates' contacts with Russian Federation or any criminal warrants.
Nunes said he obtained the information from a source he did not identify in any way. He believes the surveillance to be legally collected, but nevertheless said he is "alarmed" by the discovery.
Nunes said it's not yet known if communications from Trump himself were involved in the collection.
Nunes said word of the surveillance came after he made a request for information as part of the House Intelligence Committee's investigation of accusations by Trump this month that his New York City headquarters was wiretapped by former President Barack Obama's administration.
Schiff said Nunes' decision to brief Trump on the matter before discussing it with other members of the committee calls into question his credibility and ability to be a neutral investigator.
He said the collection took place mainly in November, December and January. In intelligence jargon, that means the Trump officials were not the target of surveillance - that what they said was "incidentally" picked up by surveillance intentionally targeting someone else.
Questioner 2: Let me just clarify.
"What I've read seems to me to be some level of surveillance activity, perhaps legal".
Trump campaign advisers are now the subject of an FBI investigation and two congressional inquiries. "I don't know that it's right", Nunes said to reporters outside the White House. "I don't know where this is going to lead".
Another reporter quickly returned to the subject for clarification.
"This is not how you conduct an investigation", Schiff said. So was it collected or was it possible it was collected?
Nunes did not know whether the "incidental collection" happened at Trump Tower, and could not say for certain whether Trump's communications were directly collected.
Questioner 4: Mr. Chairman did the president's conversations or anything about the president himself appear in the intelligence reports?
While it is not illegal to unmask a person who has been caught in "incidental collection", it is a crime to leak classified information.
On Monday, House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes demonstrated his piss poor memory skills with regard to Donald Trump's campaign advisers Carter Page and Roger Stone.
Nunes briefed Trump about the investigation at the White House, and when Trump was asked about it, he said he felt "somewhat" vindicated.