"Look, I'm sure some of you are in contact with the Russian Embassy", Nunes told a group of journalists.
Dan Coats will be at the epicenter Tuesday of the bitter squabble between President Trump and the USA intelligence community, which the former senator from IN will lead if he is confirmed as director of national intelligence. I want somebody crusty and mean who is going to stand up to the president. He did not disclose those discussions to lawmakers when asked what he would do if he came across evidence of communications between members of the Trump team and the Russian government during the campaign. He alleged on Tuesday with Fox News that Obama was behind the various leaks and even the protests that have been hurting the Trump administration. But I also understand that is politics.
Trump's relationship with the intelligence services has been rocky since before his inauguration.
Will Coats stand up to political forces in Trump's White House in addition to national security threats?
There is a palpable fear in USA intelligence of being marginalized or pushed out as retaliation for assessing Russia's interference in the 2016 election for Trump's benefit. Coats told senators he believed any review Feinberg conducts ought to fall under the DNI's authority.
American intelligence agencies and European allies had provided the Obama White House "damning" information that showed meetings taking place between Russian officials, and others close to President Vladimir Putin, and associates of Trump, according to the Times.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has agreed on the scope of its investigation into Russia's information operations and cyber activity directed at the 2016 election as the new attorney general has been dragged into the ongoing controversy.
The involvement of North Carolina Senator Richard Burr and California Representative Devin Nunes has sparked calls - mostly from Democrats - for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia's role in the election and possible ties to Trump.
Not long after, news organizations reported that Trump was considering bringing in a friend, financier Stephen Feinberg, to do a "review" of the intelligence community. I am needed. I am expected to be part of the principals committee - so the senior-most people who have voices on the National Security Council. The panel that investigated the 9/11 attacks was one such commission.
But Coats - who was known as a senator for highlighting excess government spending in floor speeches about the "Waste of the Week" - said he is already eyeing ways to do things "more efficiently and effectively". But under questioning, Coats appeared misinformed about a subsequent modification of the order that give Pompeo a seat.
Coats said he would "follow the law" when it comes to interrogation tactics used to question suspected terrorists.