Devin Nunes: I was on White House grounds before saying there was "incidental" spying on Trump officials

Rep. Devin Nunes has faced questions about his mysterious disappearance on Tuesday night

Published March 27, 2017 4:09PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Still facing outrage from his decision last week to publicly announce alleged incidental spying of citizens from Donald Trump's presidential transition before discussing the matter with his own committee, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., is now trying to clear up the mystery of where he was last Tuesday, when he supposedly learned about that surveillance in the first place.

Nunes confirmed to CNN on Monday that he was on the White House grounds — but said he was not in the White House itself. He claims that his goal was to find a secure place to view classified documents. Because the Eisenhower Executive Office Building's National Security Council offices are (after the White House Situation Room) the most likely place in the complex in which to view classified documents in a secure fashion, it is speculated that this is where he went.

One government official told CNN that he saw Nunes enter and exit the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, on both occasions while alone.

Nunes told CNN that he went to the White House grounds "to confirm what I already knew," which he argued preceded Trump's tweeting about President Barack Obama wiretapping Trump Tower. Nunes avoided further comment by arguing that saying more could "compromise sources and methods."

Congressional officials saw Nunes take a brief phone call, switch cars and get away from his staff on the night in question, according to The Washington Post, while several more claim to have been told about it. A spokesman for Nunes told The Post that "that account is inaccurate."

In part because President Trump told Fox News prior to Nunes' disclosures that he would "be submitting things before the committee very soon," many critics are claiming that Nunes' sources came from the White House itself. Nunes has refused to say whether the documents came from Trump officials.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has also appeared in Mic, MSN, MSNBC, Yahoo, Quartz, The Good Men Project, The Daily Dot, Alter Net, Raw Story and elsewhere.

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Devin Nunes Donald Trump Russia Wiretapping