Sen. John McCain told MSNBC on Wednesday that Congress does not have the “credibility” to conduct an independent investigation into what connections, if any, President Donald Trump’s campaign had to Russian officials during the election.
McCain’s comments came after House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes made the highly unusual decision on Wednesday to bypass his vice-chair, Rep. Adam Schiff, and brief Trump directly on a report he said he had been given that Trump’s transition team had been legally surveilled after the election.
“This is a bizarre situation,” McCain told Greta van Susteren. “I’m calling for a select committee because I think this back-and-forth shows that Congress no longer has the credibility handle this alone. And I don’t say that lightly.”
McCain is not the first Republican senator to call for a special, bipartisan investigation into Trump’s Russia ties. Sen. Lindsey Graham said in February that he would be open to the Senate “forming a Select Committee to look at all things related to Russia.”
Nunes, a California Republican, held a press conference after he briefed Trump on Wednesday where he indicated to reporters that a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant had been obtained to monitor foreign agents on US soil, and that some of Trump’s associates had been caught up in surveillance “incidentally.”
The collection occurred on “numerous occasions,” he said, and was not related to the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election. Some have questioned whether Nunes, in appearing to confirm the existence of a FISA, disclosed classified information.
Schiff held his own press conference afterward, expressing surprise over Nunes’ decision to bypass him and go straight to Trump.
“This is not the way an investigation should be conducted,” Schiff said.
McCain said the episode “shows a tremendous chasm between the two senior members of the House Intel Committee.”
Trump, who tweeted over two weeks ago, without presenting evidence, that President Barack Obama had had his phones “wiretapped” at Trump Tower, told reporters on Wednesday that he felt “somewhat” vindicated by Nunes’ information.
“I very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found,” Trump said. “I somewhat do.”
Nunes said later, however, that he still had no evidence to support Trump’s claim that Obama had ever wiretapped him.
“That did not happen. I’ve said this for many, many weeks, including the day after, a couple days after, in front of the press. That never happened,” Nunes said.
When asked about Trump’s comment, McCain told van Susteren that he has “>long ago given up on trying to interpret the remarks of the President of the United States.”
Watch a portion of McCain’s remarks below:
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