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White House was wrong for withholding intelligence documents: lawmaker

White House was wrong for withholding intelligence documents: lawmaker

Washington: The top Democrat on a US congressional committee investigating alleged ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign faulted the White House for withholding until information it said it had shared last week with his Republican counterpart.

“Today my staff director and I reviewed materials at the White House,” said Congressman Adam Schiff in a brief statement after receiving documents at the White House on Saturday.

“It was represented to me that these are precisely the same materials that were provided to the chairman over a week ago,” said Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

A senior White House official said Saturday that Schiff met with Trump at the White House, but the lawmaker made no reference to meeting the president in his remarks, instead reserving his remarks to his review of the documents.

“While I cannot discuss the content of the documents, if the White House had any concern over these materials, they should have been shared with the full committees in the first place as a part of our ordinary oversight responsibilities,” the Democratic lawmaker said.

“Nothing I could see today warranted a departure from the normal review procedures, and these materials should now be provided to the full membership of both committees,” he continued.

According to unconfirmed media reports, the White House shared some information it has in the case with Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, but not with his counterpart Schiff or other members of the panel.

“The White House has yet to explain why senior White House staff apparently shared these materials with but one member of either committee, only for their contents to be briefed back to the White House,” Schiff said, after finally being allowed to view the materials more than a week after they were apparently shown to Nunes.

The documents pertain to investigations underway in Congress and by the FBI into allegations that Moscow tried to swing November’s presidential election in Trump’s favor, and whether some in the Republican’s inner circle colluded with Russia.

The FBI, in an extraordinary admission, confirmed publicly last week it was probing the possibility of such collusion.

AFP