Trump’s personal communications captured by intelligence surveillance, House chair says

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Trump’s personal communications captured by intelligence surveillance, House chair says

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AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on women in healthcare, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes will be briefing President Donald Trump on Wednesday about some of his personal communications that might have been recorded by investigators through “incidental collection” methods, according to The Associated Press.

"This is a normal, incidental collection, based on what I could collect," Nunes, a Republican from California, said. "This appears to be all legally collected foreign intelligence under" the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

According to a story on CNN, Nunes said he was alerted by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, to the fact that communications had been collected.

Nunes said the intelligence surveillance produced "dozens" of reports that eventually unmasked several individuals’ identities and were "widely disseminated.”

While it is not illegal to unmask a person who has been caught in “incidental collection,” it is a crime to leak classified information. If the communications were gathered by authorization of a FISA warrant, the material would have been classified. 

Nunes said that he does not know if the information was collected at Trump Tower.

Nunes said he called a news conference Wednesday to update the public on information from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Nunes emphasized at the news conference that the surveillance through which the communications were collected had nothing to do with Russia or any investigation into Russia and the 2016 U.S. elections. 

Nunes' committee heard Monday from FBI director James Comey and National Security Agency director Mike Rogers during a more than five-hour hearing. Comey confirmed that there was an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the presidential election.

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Nunes said the collection included Trump transition officials. He also said the collection happened after the election. He said he could not say whether it meant that Trump was "spied on."

"I'm not going to get into legal definitions, but clearly I have a concern," he said.

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