WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the House intelligence committee said Wednesday that the communications of Trump transition officials — possibly including President Donald Trump himself — may have been "monitored" after the election as part of an "incidental collection."
Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said the intercepted communications do not appear to be related to the ongoing FBI investigation into Trump associates' contacts with Russia. He said he believes the intelligence collections were done legally.
It was unclear whether Trump's own communications were specifically monitored. Nunes initially said "yes" when asked if Trump was among those swept up in the intelligence monitoring, but then said it was only "possible" that the president's communications were picked up.
Nunes said the information on the Trump team was collected in November, December and January, the period after the election in which Trump was holding calls with foreign leaders, interviewing Cabinet secretaries, and was beginning to sketch out administration policy. Nunes said the monitored material was "widely disseminated" in intelligence reports.
Asked whether he believed the transition team had been spied on, Nunes said: "It all depends on one's definition of spying."
The California congressman would not name which Trump associates were picked up through the intelligence collections, nor would he say how he had received the new information. He said he was heading to the White House later Wednesday to brief the president's team.
Associated Press 2017