WASHINGTON—The top eight congressional leaders of both chambers the intelligence community routinely briefs on its activities want to know why the intelligence agencies never briefed them about reported investigations related to Trump and his team of associates.
The New York Times reported on January 19 that American law enforcement and other intelligence agencies investigated intercepted communications and financial transactions between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Trump.
However, the Times’ reported “continuing counterintelligence investigation” never made it to the briefings of the Gang of Eight. Members of this exclusive group are the Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate Majority and Minority leaders, House and Senate Intelligence Committee chairs and ranking members.
“What I do have some concern about is the Gang of Eight exists for a reason, and we are supposed to be kept up to speed on any pertinent counterintelligence investigation. If that did not occur last year we need to understand–So in other words, if Trump or any other political campaign that can be associated with Trump was under some type of investigation that clearly should have risen to the Gang of Eight level,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes told reporters.
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff told the Atlantic on February 14, that the Gang of Eight were never briefed on the conversations between former Trump National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Schiff said he requested tapes or transcripts of Flynn’s conversations back in mid-February be provided to the Gang of Eight.
“These are issues that should have been brought to the gang of eight, at a minimum. If we’re to get quarterly counterintelligence briefings, then we need the confidence of knowing that they’re briefing us on the most significant issues,” Schiff told Roll Call last Thursday.
“At this point, I think that’s very much in question,” he added. “I don’t think at all we’ve gotten the kind of quarterly briefings that we should have been getting. Not now, not in the summer, not in the fall and not even to this day.”
Nunes told reporters the committee would like to know going forward if the Gang Eight would take on a different structure. “What will the Gang of Eight be read into, because clearly we have some questions about whether or not last year we were read into everything that we should have been read into.” He added, “So I’m not trying to translate Mr. Trump’s comments but I think we share that concern over the timeliness of information given to us on counterintelligence investigations especially involving America.”