The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on Monday defended his recent controversial visit to the White House, which has suggested that those close to President Donald Trump might have been caught up in intelligence activity.
"If I really wanted to I could've snuck onto the [White House] grounds, and nobody would've seen me," Rep. Devin Nunes told CNN in an interview on Monday, denying accusations he improperly reviewed classified information one evening, then visiting the Oval Office the following day.
"I wasn't sneaking out ... the sun was out," Nunes said. "I needed a place I could go and get access to what I needed to see," the Intelligence Committee chairman told CNN, because the information he received on White House grounds had not yet been provided to Congress.
Nunes, whose committee is investigating potential ties between Trump's campaign and Russia, visited the White House the day before announcing he had valuable information — signaling Trump's administration could have been subject to some level of intelligence activity before Trump even took office in January.
During a CNN interview on Monday, Nunes reiterated the fact that what he reviewed has "nothing to do with Russia," but everything to do with American citizens and their safety. "It bothered me that this level of information would be included in intelligence reports because it wasn't necessary, legal or not," he said.
"Chairman Nunes met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source," Nunes' spokesman Jack Langer has said. "The chairman is extremely concerned by the possible improper unmasking of names of U.S. citizens, and he began looking into this issue even before President Trump tweeted his assertion that Trump Tower had been wiretapped."