Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee said on Thursday that independent investigators should examine allegations that national security agencies were monitoring some of the communications of the transition team that prepared the then-president-elect Donald Trump for the inauguration in January.
Huckabee’s remarks came after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said on Wednesday the communications of the Trump team were "monitored" after the election as part of "incidental collection." Huckabee insisted that the surveillance may have violated the Fourth Amendment. "These are private citizens of America," he said, adding that someone in the government "illegally and unethically" leaked information about members of Trump's team swept up in the surveillance of people overseas.
Fox News host Ed Henry said that Nunes claimed that Obama administration officials had a list of unmasked names of Trump associates that were included in secret surveillance.
According to Nunes, Huckabee said, even names that were masked could be easily identified. Huckabee called for an "independent type of investigation" because Congress be trusted to remain non-partisan. "You're going to have to find people who are above reproach [to conduct the investigation] and it may be the longest search in American history," said Huckabee.
Nunes clashed with the House Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff of California on Thursday. When Nunes said that Trump’s transition team had been monitored, Schiff slammed his remarks for their supposed "profound irregularity."
Nunes said that the information gathered was not related to the investigation about alleged involvement on the part of Russia in the 2016 election. According to The Hill, Nunes said: "I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community collected information on US individuals involved in the Trump transition." In response, President Trump tweeted that he had been "partially vindicated" by the House Intelligence Committee.
This brought a reproof from Schiff, who said in a statement, "If accurate, this information should have been shared with members of the committee, but it has not been.” The investigation into alleged wiretapping began after Trump wrote on Twitter on 3 March: "How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
Appearing to validate concerns over a loss of privacy in the political process. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus, said in a 2012 televised interview that Barack Obama had “everything” on “every individual.”
CNN host Roland Martin told Walters, “You better get while you can while he’s there because, look, come 2016, that’s it.”
In response, Waters said, “I think people are missing something here. The president [Barack Obama] has put in place an organization that contains the kind of database that no one has every seen before in this life. That’s going to be very very powerful. And whoever…” Here Waters was cut off by Martin, who suggested, “In terms of Organizing for America [Obama’s political organization] that he is now shifting to be a 501 c 4?” Waters responded, “Yes, that’s right. And that database will have information on everything, about every individual, in ways that has never been done before. And whoever runs for president on the Democratic ticket have to deal with that.”