Senate Intel panel tells WH to send Russia information directly

Senate Intel panel tells WH to send Russia information directly
© Greg Nash

Senate Intelligence Committee leaders are urging the White House to turn documents related to their Russia investigation directly over to the panel, seemingly declining an invitation to examine intelligence reports at the White House. 

A spokesperson for the Senate committee said the Trump administration should instruct the agencies that have the relevant documents to provide them directly to its members, which would cut out the White House as an intermediary. 

“In response to the White House letter, the Committee has asked the White House to direct the agencies that own the intelligence documents in question to immediately provide them directly to the Committee," a committee spokesperson said in a statement. 

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White House press secretary Sean Spicer said both the leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence committees received the invitation to review the documents in question.

“We have invited the chairmen and the ranking members who are looking into this and reviewing the matter up here. That doesn’t mean we allow uncleared members from the media to come and look at this,” Spicer said during the White House press briefing on Thursday. 

The House Intelligence Committee's ranking member, Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Schiff says Justice Roberts should rule on witnesses Schiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line MORE (D-Calif.), agreed to examine the materials at the White House earlier in the day.

But Schiff also said this invitation "raises far more questions than any it answers."  

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has been under fire for meeting with the president without conferring with his committee, and publicly announcing that Obama administration inadvertently collected surveillance on President Trump's transition associates during a broader intelligence probe, based on reports he had seen.

Nunes said he privately reviewed the documents on White House grounds "to confirm what I already knew” before making his announcement.

Nunes has also refused to identify his sources or the agency the information came from, claiming it would scare other potential sources from disclosing sensitive information. 

It's not clear if the documents Spicer was referring to are the same that Nunes saw. 

Some critics accuse Nunes of working for the White House and have called for him to recuse himself from the investigation, concerned that he is trying to give Trump cover for his allegations of wiretapping against former President Obama.