CNN reports: It has been something of a mystery, the whereabouts of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes on the day before his announcement that he saw information suggesting that communications of then-President-elect Donald Trump and his advisers may have been swept up in surveillance of other foreign nationals.
The California Republican confirmed to CNN in a phone interview Monday he was on the White House grounds that day — but he said he was not in the White House itself. (Other buildings, including the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, are on the same grounds.)
Nunes went to the building because he needed a secure area to view the information, he told CNN. He said he didn’t believe the President nor any of his West Wing team were aware he was there, and the White House said Monday it learned of Nunes’ visit through media reports and directed any questions to the congressman.
A former government intelligence official told CNN on Monday that members of Congress, like the general public, must be cleared and escorted into facilities on White House grounds.
“Every non-White House staffer must be cleared in by a current White House staffer,” the official said. “So it’s just not possible that the White House was unaware or uninvolved.”
Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, refused to rule out Monday whether Nunes’ source came from the White House but did say during the daily press briefing that “it doesn’t really pass the smell test.”
“I did not sit in on that briefing,” Spicer said. “I’m not — it just doesn’t — so I don’t know why he would brief the speaker and then come down here to brief us on something that we would have briefed him on. It doesn’t really seem to make a ton of sense. So I’m not aware of it, but it doesn’t really pass the smell test.”
Nunes said he was there for additional meetings “to confirm what I already knew” but said he wouldn’t comment further so as to not “compromise sources and methods.” [Continue reading…]
The only smell test relevant here is the one that applies to Spicer’s statements. They emit a strong odor of bullshit.
Why would Nunes come down to the White House to brief Trump when the White House was in fact Nunes’ source? Precisely, as Spicer understands full well, in order to conceal the fact that the White House was instrumental in providing Nunes with his “revelations.”