Nunes: ‘No Evidence of Collusion’ Between ‘Trump World,’ Russia
House Intel chair suggests surveillance other than a physical wiretap 'very possible' at Trump Tower
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said there is “no evidence of collusion” between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian hackers who interfered in the 2016 election during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
When host Chris Wallace asked him if he knew of any collusion between those in “Trump world” and those in Russia to coordinate efforts to undermine former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Nunes said his “very simple answer” was “no.”
“Up to speed on everything I have up to this morning, there is no evidence of collusion.”
“I’ll give you a very simple answer: ‘No,'” Nunes told Wallace. “Up to speed on everything I have up to this morning, there is no evidence of collusion.”
But when Wallace asked him about Trump’s claims that former President Obama had “wiretapped” Trump Tower before the election, Nunes said he has seen no evidence to support that literal claim. FBI Director James Comey is set to testify about the wiretapping claims Monday.
“The president doesn’t physically go and wiretap something. So if you take [Trump] literally, it didn’t happen,” Nunes said. “There was no FISA warrant that I am aware of to tap Trump Tower … And so, was there a physical wiretap of Trump Tower? No, but there never was. And the information we got on Friday continues to lead us in that direction.”
Nunes did, however, note the Friday briefing did not answer questions concerning other possible “surveillance activities.”
“I think the concern that we have is that, were there any other surveillance activities that were used? Unmasking names. For example, we know that General [Michael] Flynn’s name was unmasked,” Nunes said, referring to the leaked details showing that Trump’s former national security adviser spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump’s inauguration.
“So the other issue though that’s still remaining out there is the unmasking of names and the leaking of names. And so, 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?” Nunes said. “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.”
Nunes said it was “very possible” if Trump is talking about “the unmasking of names” and other “surveillance activities” that he would be correct — those activities could likely have occurred.
"That is very possible, and we don't have the answers to those questions yet," Nunes said. "We had a deadline of Friday for the NSA and FBI to get us those names that were unmasked through the FISA system. We didn't get those names on Friday. So, until we get those names, we can't rule this out."
Noting that "the one crime" he knows of that was committed was the leaking of Flynn's name through the FISA system to the press, Nunes said the unmasking was "very, very concerning."
"We should not be going after our diplomats and making it wrong to be talking to diplomats in this town. That is their job," Nunes said, noting that it was "pretty clear" that some members of the intelligence community were seeking to undermine the Trump administration.
"There's even been stories written about it in numerous newspapers talking about how they said they left breadcrumbs around to hurt the Trump administration," Nunes said. "I think it was largely people maybe who were there, had classified information, who are now no longer there and decided to leak it ... Clearly to leak Michael Flynn's name talking to the Russian ambassador ... that was clearly designed to hurt Gen. Flynn and the president's national security adviser."