Speed Reads

High Nunes

U.S. intelligence says Rep. Devin Nunes is risking lives, U.S. operative with latest document demand

On May 2, President Trump took the rare step of siding with the Justice Department against a cadre of tenacious House Republicans who have been battling Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein for increasingly sensitive information about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation and the FBI's Hillary Clinton email investigation, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. In this case, the demand came from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who has ostensibly recused himself from the Russia investigation.

Senior FBI and national security officials made a special plea to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly last Wednesday, and he and Trump "were persuaded that turning over Justice Department documents could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI," the Post reports. But it's unclear if Trump was told the "information developed by the intelligence source had been provided to the Mueller investigation," and "several administration officials said they fear Trump may reverse course and support Nunes' argument."

It isn't clear what documents Nunes asked for in a classified April 24 letter, but intelligence agencies say it "threatened to cross a red line of compromising sources and methods of U.S. intelligence-gathering," the Post says. "Lawmakers conducting oversight are usually given summaries of the information, but not the intelligence collected directly from wiretaps and sensitive sources," The New York Times explained last week. "Rosenstein and top FBI officials have come to suspect that some lawmakers were using their oversight authority to gain intelligence about that investigation so that it could be shared with the White House," the Times added, citing "a former federal law enforcement official familiar with the department's views."

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters on Tuesday that he hasn't discussed this particular request with Nunes but "we expect the administration to comply with our document requests." You can read more about the standoff at The Washington Post.