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Who gets to ask questions at the White House briefing?

02 April 2017

After reviewing what he was told are the same documents that were shown to his colleague.

Nunes was on White House grounds last week a day before he returned to brief President Trump about information he said he had learned about incidental surveillance of members of Trump's transition team.

During the latest White House press conference, press secretary Sean Spicer told the room that Trump will "totally stop all the whistleblowing". So when they say, 'Oh, the House committee - it's dysfunctional.' No, it's a dysfunctional chairman.

Nunes sparked a controversy last week when he said he received information from an undisclosed source at the White House that conversations by President Donald Trump and his staff had been swept up as "incidental collection" by USA spy agencies targeting foreign agents. The California congressman later said he viewed the reports at the White House.

Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, declined to reveal any details of the information.

He referenced reports, including a New York Times story published on March 1 that suggested that at the end of the Obama administration, officials spread information about Russian attempts to meddle in the election - and about possible contacts between Trump aides and the Russians, across the government. There is an ongoing pattern and more and more revelations that what we have seen is that something potentially was very, very bad was happening and people are using classified information not with respect to Russian Federation, but to surveil people during that cycle.

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Nunes then spoke with reporters and the president about the material without informing any of the other 21 members on the House Intelligence Committee, angering Democrats, who questioned Nunes' credibility.

Though White House officials have refused to answer questions about the documents shared with Mr Nunes, a White House letter to the House committee on Thursday said officials had "discovered documents" that might show whether information collected was mishandled.

Since July, the FBI has been conducting a counterintelligence investigation into Russia's interference in the election and possible coordination with Trump associates.

For now, the House chair has cancelled all committee meetings and plans to delay his investigation into whether members of Trump's campaign were in collusion with Russian efforts to rig the presidential election. They were first named in reports by The New York Times and The Washington Post.

"Whether the president was aware or not is one thing - the Trump administration certainly was, and it is very weird", Pelosi said.

Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, likened the situation to a "mystery novel", telling CNN this week that, "you never know what is going to happen next". But, of course, she had already left the Obama administration a year earlier, so it's kind of hard to pin that on her. Schiff was later seen entering the White House. Former Obama officials contend that intelligence was disseminated to pockets of the government where officials had clearance to see classified reports, not publicly leaked. "I think that when you want to look at a connection to Russia", Spicer said, "there is a clear one there".

Who gets to ask questions at the White House briefing?