Is Nunes Toast? White House Struggles to Explain Who Leaked Intelligence

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Thursday he's accepted an invitation from the White House to view what may be the same classified documents shown last week to chairman Devin Nunes about government surveillance.

Nunes has shared information connected to his committee's investigation to the very White House whose campaign is being investigated.

This struck reporters as odd - that Nunes would go to be briefed at the office building that houses most of the White House staff, and then return to the White House to brief the president on the material he had seen at the White House complex.

But the panel's top Democrat noted the invitation coincided with a published report that two White House officials helped the committee's GOP chairman view intelligence, which he then told reporters supports to some extent President Donald Trump's claim of us surveillance of his team.

Nunes' committee is also investigating Russia's involvement in the election, and the chairman did not brief his fellow members on the intelligence reports before holding the press conference and meeting with the president.

"There is now reporting - which I can't tell if you're disputing or not - that identifies two people within this White House as the sources of this information".

The source says Cohen-Watnick did not alert Nunes to the documents.

Mr. Cohen-Watnick is among 12 White House officials who would have access to the types of classified information Mr. Nunes says he viewed.

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Nunes neglected to share the information with Democrats before speaking with the press and the president, raising doubts about the congressman's objectivity.

Former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (C) arrives at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2017.

Schiff told reporters, "If that was created to hide the origin of the materials, it raises profound questions about just what the White House is doing". And from all available evidence, they - not intelligence agencies - requested that the names in the top secret intelligence be "unmasked", he said.

At his daily press briefing on Thursday, Spicer said that he read the Times report but refused to comment on the story, saying that commenting "would be to validate certain things that I am not at liberty to do".

The latest revelation does further damage to both Nunes' and White House officials' credibility.

He and a colleague, Michael Ellis - formerly a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee - then contacted Nunes, who was on Trump's transition team.

Spicer pushed back at reporters who asked about the report, scolding one correspondent for 'Your obsession with who talked to whom and when'. Mark Warner, ranking member of the Senate intel committee, said that the situation surrounding Nunes get more "bizarre" every day. "So I'm not aware of it, but it doesn't really pass the smell test".

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