Democrat: Nunes apologized for surprise White House visit

Andrew Rafferty
House Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speak with the media about the ongoing Russia investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S. March 15, 2017.
Aaron P. Bernstein | Reuters

House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes apologized to committee members after going to the White House Wednesday with information about President Donald Trump's wiretapping accusations before sharing it with the committee, a Democrat on the panel said Thursday.

"He just apologized, he didn't specify what his apology was about," Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Cali., told reporters after a closed-door meeting.

Nunes' surprise solo trip to the White House without informing other committee members beforehand set off a firestorm among the Democratic members of the committee. Rep. Adam Schiff, the highest ranking Democrat on the committee, said Nunes needs to decide if he wants to be an independent investigator or "act as a surrogate of the White House."

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"Over the next few days we're going to assess whether or not we feel confident that he can continue in that role," Speier said.

The Republican leader of the powerful committee investigating Trump's claims that President Barack Obama "wiretapped" Trump Tower came under intense criticism from his Democrats for going to the president and the media before the committee.

Nunes told reporters Thursday that a source showed him intelligence reports indicating communication from members of Trump's presidential transition team, and even the president himself, were "incidentally collected" by intelligence agencies. He did not address speculation that his source could be someone inside the White House, saying that the committee's methods must be kept "very, very quiet."

"The president didn't invite me over, I called down there and invited myself because I thought he needed to understand what I saw and that he needed to try to get that information because he has every right to see it," Nunes said.

"It was a judgment call on my part," Nunes said. "At the end of day, sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the wrong one — but you got to stick by the decisions you make."