Schiff says Trump wants focus on tweets, not Russia probe

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"We don't want to do anything that will interfere in any case that the Justice Department may decide to bring".

Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee suggested that the White House likely tried to manipulate the congressional investigation by passing along documents to Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the committee. Flynn last month was forced to register as a foreign agent for work conducted on behalf of the Turkish government in the run-up to the November presidential election. As of Sunday, Nunes had still failed to share the documents - even after it was revealed that his source for those documents was a trio if White House officials, and that he obtained the documents at the White House itself.

If proof exists that Rice went beyond unmasking and was responsible for the leaking of Trump transition official Michael Flynn's conversations with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak - and there is no proof of that to this point - then it absolutely warrants closer scrutiny. And the story is, look over there at leaks, and look over there at anything we can claim that the Obama administration did wrong on incidental collection or anything else, but whatever you do, under no circumstances look here at me or at Russian Federation. They also are looking at any links between Russian Federation and Trump.

U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ranking member Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks with reporters about the committee's Russian Federation investigation, March 30. The California Democrat also implied the White House's own presentation to him made him believe the White House might be trying to use the documents to bolster Trump's wiretapping allegations and distract attention from the Russian Federation investigations. Nunes viewed the documents during a mysterious late-night visit to the White House. The speeches were not included in a form that he signed electronically on Feb 11, which the White House also released last Saturday.

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Nunes has refused to discuss his sources, and House Speaker Paul Ryan said in an interview Wednesday that while he had not viewed the materials and did not know the source, Nunes told him it was a "whistleblower type".

The White House has not pointed to any hard evidence to support such allegations, and instead has relied on media reports from some of the same publications Trump derides as "fake news".

"This action is long overdue and follows an inexplicable series of events in which the White House played a role in selectively and surreptitiously providing the documents to our Chairman (Nunes)", Schiff said in a statement.