The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says he felt he had a "duty and obligation" to brief President Trump about reported surveillance of his transition team, noting Trump is "taking a lot of heat in the news media."
“It’s clear that I would be concerned if I was the president, and that’s why I wanted him to know," Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesSunday shows preview: Pelosi announces date for infrastructure vote; administration defends immigration policies LIVE COVERAGE: Ways and Means begins Day 2 on .5T package Biden faces unfinished mission of evacuating Americans MORE (R-Calif.) said during an interview airing Thursday night on Fox News's "Hannity."
"I felt like I had a duty and obligation to tell him, because, as you know, he’s taking a lot of heat in the news media, and I think to some degree there are some things he should look at to see whether, in fact, he thinks the collection was proper or not,” Nunes said.
Nunes drew harsh criticism for his decision Wednesday to inform the president that a source told him U.S. intelligence agencies had collected information on members of Trump's transition team during their usual surveillance activities.
Democrats slammed the chairman for speaking to Trump without updating his panel, which is investigating Russia's influence campaign on the presidential election.
The GOP chairman, who was a member of Trump's transition team, was forced to apologize to Democrats on the committee Thursday morning amid calls for him to step down from the panel.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday called him a “stooge” for the White House, while his Democratic counterpart on the Intelligence Committee said he had behaved like a "surrogate."
“At the end of the day, sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you don’t,” Nunes said earlier Thursday.
In his Fox News interview, Nunes reiterated his belief that the surveillance was legal but added that he questions the value of gathering such intelligence.
“I will say that the dissemination was pretty far and wide. And I will say, as I have said before, it appears to me that it was all legal, but the question is, should have it been done in the first place?" Nunes said.
"Did it meet foreign intelligence value? And then secondly, were any other Americans names unmasked? And I have information that says that there were,” he added.