- By Emily TamkinEmily Tamkin is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. She writes for FP’s The Cable, a real-time take on the news in Washington and the wider world. She has been at FP since the fall of 2016, before which she was an associate editor at New America, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington. She has a B.A. in Russian literature from Columbia University, an M.Phil. in Russian and East European studies from the University of Oxford, and studied Soviet dissidence in archival centers in Moscow, Tbilisi, and, on a Fulbright, in Bremen — all of which means that at FP, she writes when she can on Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.
The top two members of the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday they know of no evidence that President Donald Trump was subjected to a wiretap ordered by former President Barack Obama.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the panel’s chairman, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.), the ranking member, were speaking at a press conference nominally on the subject of their ongoing investigation into Trump’s potential ties to Russia. The committee will hold its first public hearing next Monday, Mar. 20.
On Mar. 4, Trump claimed via Twitter that the former president had wiretapped the Trump Tower during the campaign, an assertion the White House tried to walk back later. The lawmakers said they’d seen no evidence to back up those claims.
“Are you going to take the tweets literally? And if you are, then clearly the president is wrong,” Nunes said.
Schiff was more forceful, saying the president should either retract his tweeted statement or explain himself.
“There are from a national security perspective, grave concerns if the president is going to state things like that without any basis,” he said.
FBI director James Comey is scheduled to testify at Monday’s hearing. The comments by the two lawmakers on the intelligence committee seem to offer Trump a last chance to retract his claims about the alleged wiretapping before Comey speaks.
Separately on Wednesday, Schiff and Nunes co-authored a letter to Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, Mike Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Comey, looking into the leaks of classified information to the media.
The two lawmakers expressed concern that the identity of U.S. individuals was made public in relation to classified information — specifically, in news reports that discussed phone conversations between former national security adviser Mike Flynn and the Russian ambassador. They asked the intelligence agencies to determine if any U.S. individuals associated with either presidential campaign were improperly “unmasked” by any intelligence officials.
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