Cohen-Watnick, as Politico wrote on March 14, appealed the decision to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior adviser Jared Kushner, two men he became close with during the transition.
Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said Thursday the material the White House wants the House and Senate intelligence leaders to view was discovered by the National Security Council.
Nunes and the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Adam Schiff, sent a March 15 letter to the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency asking for information about the publishing of Americans' names in intelligence reports that relate to the presidential candidates and their associates.
The GOP chairman was shown the information while on White House grounds before he returned there last week to brief Trump about the information.
Cohen-Watnik came into the administration via former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was ousted after it was revealed he misled the administration about his conversations with Russia's US ambassador.
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This struck reporters as odd - that Nunes would go to be briefed at the office building that houses most of the White House staff, and then return to the White House to brief the president on the material he had seen at the White House complex. "The specific sucking in question involves Nunes' unsubstantiated claims that he's seen documents from a secret source that he met at the White House proving that Trump aides were incidentally caught up in government surveillance of foreign agents". The White House quickly embraced Nunes' revelations, saying they vindicated Trump's explosive and unverified claim that President Barack Obama wiretapped his NY skyscraper.
Cohen-Watnick is among about a dozen White House officials who would have access to the types of classified information Nunes says he viewed, according to current and former USA officials.
And the report said the intercepted communications are not related to the investigation into Russian influence, a point Nunes has stressed publicly.
This comes in addition to a report in The Washington Post that The Trump administration sought to block former acting Attorney General Sally Yates from testifying in the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign team and Russian officials.
Earlier this week, Nunes told Bloomberg's Eli Lake that "his source was not a White House staffer". House Speaker Paul Ryan, in an interview with CBS' "This Morning" that aired Thursday, said Nunes told him a "whistleblower-type person" provided the information.
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