White House invites Congress investigation leaders to view documents

White House invites Congress investigation leaders to view documents

Speaking on Capitol Hill Thursday, Schiff said he was "more than willing" to accept the White House offer to view new information.

Cohen-Watnick is a former Defence Intelligence Agency official who was originally brought to the White House by Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser.

Cohen-Watnick was almost fired earlier in the month at the request of National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, but was overruled by US President Donald Trump after he appealed to White House advisers Stephen Bannon and Jared Kushner, Trump's Jewish son-in-law.

No one on Nunes' committee had seen the materials before he made his announcement, and the sequence of events cast further doubts on Nunes' ability to lead an independent investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged ties with Russian Federation. It's unclear why Nunes would have rushed to brief Trump on information that originated at the White House, which is what got him in trouble in the first place. Cohen-Watnick worked for Flynn when he was in charge of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who co-authored the story, tweeted that Ellis showed the information to Nunes while Cohen-Watnick had seen it in "another context".

Early last week, White House officials privately encouraged reporters to look into whether information about Trump associates had been improperly revealed in the intelligence gathering process.

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That closely maps with how Rep. Devin Nunes described the information he viewed at the White House last week, and subsequently briefed Trump on during a hastily arranged session.

Nunes delivered the letter to the top Democrat on the investigation, Rep. Adam Schiff, but Schiff refused to sign the invite, saying he wanted to hold the public hearing they agreed on, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The Times story said Cohen-Watnick found classified reports of top foreign officials talking about developing connections with Trump's family and allies. He's become a controversial figure in intelligence circles, but Trump made a decision to keep him on over the objections of the CIA, according to the officials.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for what the time the letter was sent. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly by name. One day after the meeting, Nunes revealed in a press conference he had new information that showed the USA intelligence community incidentally surveilled Trump's team during the transition.

Comey said he would not testify without a formal invite, a spokesman for Nunes told CNN.

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