(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House intelligence committee, wants the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Judiciary Committee to interview former Obama State Department officials as well as current FBI and Justice Department officials, as part of the ongoing investigation into surveillance of the Trump campaign.
Nunes told Fox News Monday night he has referred the names of 17 people to the two House committees for interviews; he just added ten more names to the interview list; and he told Laura Ingraham there are more names to come.
Well, first of all, I want to make sure the American people know that this is just one more step in the process. I think we've been very transparent about how we've conducted this process. We went on to FISA abuse and other matters. I have said for a long time that we are looking at the State Department. When we began looking at the State Department, you had Victoria Nuland and a few other people who decided to go out and talk about things publicly, which actually helped our investigation out quite a bit.
The reason why is, because we still don't understand how this (Trump-Russia) investigation was actually opened. But we know that many people in the Obama-era State Department were involved in the opening of that investigation. So it all comes down to, how did the information make it from supposedly an Australian high commissioner ambassador to the FBI?
So we know that that didn't come through what I would call Five-Eyes intelligence -- it wasn't real intelligence product, it somehow short-circuited that process. We also know the people in the State Department were meeting with Christopher Steele. Christopher Steele was the person who was hired by the Democrats to dig up dirt on President Trump.
So this is why this investigation has taken a while, but we are -- the good thing is, is that I believe that Chairmen Gowdy and Goodlatte, their task force will interview these people and they will interview them in public, so it will be the first time during this entire investigation that the American people get to see actual questions get answered as to these key potential witnesses.
Nunes said the investigation is following two parallel tracks:
"So one, we have the London episode. Somehow information made it from the Australian government to the FBI. We believe that went through London and somehow went to the Obama State Department, that then ended up in the Justice Department. So that's one track.
"The second track is Christopher Steele. What on earth was Christopher Steele doing meeting with State Department officials, and why was the Steele dossier, that supposedly the FBI was trying to get their hands on, why was it also going through the State Department? So a lot of people have their hands on the Steele dossier, including many people in the media who knew about the Steele dossier."
Nunes complained that the Legislative branch is having to do the job of the media, because "very few" journalists "will actually cover this story to try to get to the bottom of it and that's part of what is taking so long."
Nunes said he is referring the 27-plus names to the Oversight and Judiciary Committees because they have already convened a task force. (The House intelligence committee, beset by infighting, ended its Trump-Russia probe earlier this year with a party-line vote that found no evidence of collusion.)
"They should be able to do all of these hearings in public, full transparency, so that people can watch on live television. That is my recommendation to the committee chairmen," Nunes said. "I believe they will follow that recommendation. They may have other names. So far, we sent them the 17, plus the ten -- 27 names we have sent them. We will be sending a more names here later this week this week."
Nunes said the two-dozen-plus potential witnesses could be subpoenaed if they do not agree to voluntarily testify under oath. But he also noted they can plead the Fifth once they appear before the committees.