“No official intelligence” was used to launch the FBI’s investigation into allegations of collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, according to the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes of California.
The congressman said in an interview with Fox News on Sunday it’s also now known that longtime Bill and Hillary Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal and others were “pushing information into the State Department.”
“So we’re trying to piece all that together and that’s why we continue to look at the State Department,” the congressman said.
The House intel panel’s probe, Nunes said, is now focused on “major irregularities” regarding how the FBI found out about a meeting Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had with Russian nationals, which played a major role in prompting the FBI’s Russia probe.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking member of the committee, dismissed Nunes’ comments as a further attempt to divert attention from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into alleged Trump-Russia collusion.
Schiff told Fox News in a statement the Republican majority “seems to believe that if it can discredit the initiation of the investigation by attacking the FBI, Justice Department and State Department, it can get the public to ignore the growing body of evidence of illicit contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”
“This approach is as disingenuous as it is destructive to our institutions,” Schiff said.
Nunes explained in the interview with “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo that his investigation “wanted to find out what intelligence they had that actually led to this (FBI) investigation.”
“This is really important to us because a counterintelligence investigation uses the tools of our intelligence services, that are not supposed to be used on American citizens,” he explained.
Ultimately, said Nunes, the House committee found out “that, in fact, there was no intelligence.”
Regarding the “major irregularities at the State Department,” he said “we’re trying to figure out how this information about Papadopoulos, of all people, who was supposedly met with some folks in London, how that made it across to the FBI’s hands.”
“We know a little bit about that because of what some of the State Department officials themselves have said about that,” said Nunes. “So we were glad to get this behind us, but as we peel another piece back, it leaves more unanswered questions.”
Nunes was asked how the investigation was launched if no intelligence was used.
“I think that is the point. We don’t understand, we’ve never understood. We don’t have access to these finished intelligence products, and we’ve never seen one,” he said.
But the congressman said it’s clear that “using these intelligence services to spy on the other campaign” is “really serious stuff.”
DNC lawsuit ‘fundraising scheme’
In an interview Saturday with Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro, Nunes condemned the Democratic National Committee’s new lawsuit against the Trump campaign, Russia and WikiLeaks as “a scam to keep their base fired up.”
“This is about the extreme left, the socialist left, wanting to never accept that the president of the United States was rightfully and duly elected, carried a number of states that nobody expected him to carry,” the congressman said.
“So this is a fundraising scheme. It’s nothing more, nothing less. It’s a fundraising scheme because the Democrats are out of money, and that’s what this is about.”
The lawsuit filed Friday in federal district court in New York City alleges a conspiracy to disrupt Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and elect Donald Trump president.
Nunes retorted that the DNC “ought to be suing themselves,” because “they are the ones that colluded with the Russians.”
He pointed out the DNC did not report to the Federal Election Commission that it paid the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to produce the infamous anti-Trump “dossier,” which the FBI used to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.
An FEC complaint was filed last October by the Campaign Legal Center alleging the disclosure violations by the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign committee.