At least three senior White House officials, including the top lawyer for the National Security Council, were involved in the handling of intelligence files that were shared with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and showed that Trump campaign officials were swept up in U.S. surveillance of foreign nationals, according to U.S. officials. The White House role in the matter contradicts assertions by the committee’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and adds to mounting concerns that the Trump administration is collaborating with the leader of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Though White House officials have refused to answer questions about the documents shared with Nunes, the White House said in a letter to the House committee Thursday that it had “discovered documents” that might show whether information collection on U.S. persons was mishandled and was prepared to show them to lawmakers.
One of those involved in procuring the documents cited by Nunes has close ties to former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The official, Ezra Cohen, survived a recent attempt to oust him from his White House job by appealing to Trump advisers Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon, the officials said.
The materials unearthed by Nunes have been used to defend President Trump’s baseless claims on Twitter that he had been wiretapped at Trump Tower under a surveillance operation ordered by then-President Barack Obama. FBI Director James B. Comey and others have said that claim is false.