'A body blow to the investigation': Democrats slam GOP investigator over disclosure of Trump wiretap claims

Rep. Adam Schiff slammed House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes on Wednesday over his disclosure that the intelligence community may have intercepted communications of transition officials working for President Donald Trump.

Committee Chair Devin Nunes announced Wednesday that he viewed reports proving the intelligence community had “incidentally collected” information about Trump’s transition team, and independently reported the findings to the White House.

In an interview on CNN, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee decried Nunes’ decision to brief the White House on his findings before informing the committee.

“We can’t conduct a credible investigation this way,” Schiff said. “The chairman really has to make a decision whether that’s his intention, that’s what he wants to do, or he wants to be a surrogate for the president. But he can’t do both.”

He continued: “It was a deeply disturbing turn, and certainly a body blow to the investigation.”

The California Democrat also dismissed Trump’s claim that Nunes “vindicated” the president’s claim he was wiretapped by former President Barack Obama, pointing out that both FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers testified that they were unaware of any evidence supporting Trump’s allegation.

“I think ultimately that will be debunked because as a fundamental matter, the director of the FBI would know about it,” Schiff said, adding, “I don’t think there’s anything vindicated here except the president’s commitment to now quadruple down on a baseless accusation on his predecessor.”

Though he did not call for Nunes to step down, Schiff said the committee needed to decide whether the chair should remain.

“I think we need to have a conversation in committee with all the members, and the chairman and I need to hash this out, because this undermines our efforts,” Schiff said.

Schiff was one of a number of Democrats who blasted the chair.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for Nunes to step down, while a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee called for a “9/11-style commission” to investigate potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

NOW WATCH: Here’s why the former head of the CIA says Obama never tapped Trump’s phones

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