Julie Pace?and Eileen Sullivan
WASHINGTON: The White House refused to say on Thursday whether it secretly fed intelligence reports to a top Republican investigating possible coordination between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. Fending off growing criticism, the administration invited lawmakers from both parties to view classified material it said relates to surveillance of the president’s associates.
The White House’s invitation letter came amid a quickly rising storm over Rep. Devin Nunes, who heads the House intelligence committee. The New York Times reported that two White House officials — including an aide whose job was recently saved by President Donald Trump — secretly helped Nunes examine intelligence information last week.
The House panel’s work has been deeply, and perhaps irreparably, undermined by Nunes’ apparent coordination with the White House. He told reporters last week that he had seen troubling information about the improper distribution of Trump associates’ intercepted communications, and he briefed the president on the material, all before informing Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee’s top Democrat.
Meanwhile, the Senate intelligence committee held its own hearing, a less combative affair in which Russia experts from universities, think tanks and elsewhere described a serious attempt to meddle in the U.S. election — and efforts in France and Germany as well.
Nothing to the allegations, Russian President Vladimir Putin said from the other side of the world. Asked at a forum in Russia, Putin quoted George H. W. Bush from 1992.
“Read my lips: No,” he said, pronouncing the last word in English for emphasis.