Trump: I feel 'somewhat' vindicated by House Intelligence Committee chair's revelations

President Donald Trump said he felt "somewhat" vindicated by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes' announcement on Wednesday that he had seen reports that the intelligence community had "incidentally collected" information about Trump's transition team.

Asked at the White House if he felt vindicated, Trump said: "I very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found. I somewhat do."

Nunes, a California Republican, said during a brief press conference that the collection occurred on "numerous occasions" and was not related to the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling in last year's presidential election.

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Donald Trump through the years
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Donald Trump through the years

Donald Trump with Alfred Eisenpreis, New York City Economic Development Administrator. Sketch of new 1,400 room Renovation project of Commodore Hotel.

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Donald Trump pauses in his apartment 5/20 after receiving the news that the Board of Estimate unanimously approved a 40-year tax abatement plan. Under the plan Trump will purchase and refurbish the Commodore Hotel, which closed into doors 5/18, from the Penn Central Transportation Corp. In return for his $10-million-dollar purchase and up to $100 million face-lifting investment, Trump will have no real estate taxes for 40 years.

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Real estate developer Donald Trump announces intentions to build a $100 million dollar Regency Hotel.

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Donald Trump stands behind architect's model of City Hall Plaza.

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Donald Trump and Ivana Trump attend Roy Cohn's birthday party in February 1980 in New York City.

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Donna Mills and Donald Trump during 1983 Annual American Image Awards at Sheraton Center in New York City, New York, United States.

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Donald Trump attends 38th Annual Horatio Alger Awards Dinner on May 10, 1985 at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City.

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Portrait of real estate mogul Donald John Trump (b.1946), smiling slightly and facing to his right, 1983. New York.

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Boxing promoter Don King holds up the arms of Mike Tyson and former champion Larry Holmes during a press conference here 12/1. Looking on is Donald Trump. The fight will be held at the Trump Plaza Hotel.

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Donald Trump, real estate mogul, entrepreneur, and billionare poses in the foyer of his home in August 1987 in Greenwich, Connecticut.

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Donald Trump Jr. and Donald Trump during 1988 U.S. Open - September 3, 1988 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, New York, United States.

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Ivana Trump and Donald Trump during Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks Fight at Trump Plaza - June 27, 1988 at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States.

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Billionaire Donald Trump and his wife Ivana arrive 04 December 1989 at a social engagement in New York.

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Donald Trump and Daughter Ivanka Trump during Maybelline Presents 1991 Look of the Year at Plaza Hotel in New York City, New York, United States.

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Donald Trump attends 'Hoop-La' Special Olympics Basketball Game on June 25, 1992 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

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Donald Trump and Joan Rivers during Opening of The Rose Room in the Plaza Hotel at Plaza Hotel Rose Room in New York City, New York, United States.

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Donald Trump touches 07 April 1993 Marla Maples stomach to confirm published reports that the actress is pregnant with his child. The two arrived for Maples appearance in the Broadway musical 'The Will Rogers Follies'.

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US business tycoon Donald Trump enters the PLaza Hotel in New York past supporters 21 December 1994. Hundreds of supporters showed up at a news conference where Trump denied a New York newspaper report that the Sultan of Brunei had bid 300 million USD to buy the Manhattan hotel.

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Donald Trump and Christine Whitman during Opening of New Warner Bros. Store in Trump Plaza Casino at Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States.

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Donald Trump attends Marc Jacobs Fashion Show on April 4, 1995 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Boxing: IBC Heavyweight Title: View of celebrity businessman Donald Trump and actor Steven Seagal seated ringside during Lennox Lewis vs Tommy Morrison fight at Boardwalk Convention Hall. Atlantic City, NJ. (Photo by John Iacono /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) 

New York real estate giant Donald Trump poses in his Trump Tower office on a giant letter 'T' on May 8, 1996.

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Portrait of Marla Maples and her husband, businessman Donald Trump, with their daughter Tiffany, as they pose together at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, 1996.

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Donald Trump and Ron Delsner backstage at a KISS concert at Madison Squre Garden in New York City on July 25, 1996.

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Donald Trump attending Halloween party thrown by Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss at the Supper Club to kick off Fashion Week.  

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Donald Trump open his new building at 1 Center Park West- The new Trump International Hotel and Tower.

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Donald Trump and his girlfriend Celina Midelfar watch Conchita Martinez and Amanda Coetzer 07 September at US Open in Flushing Meadows, NY.

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Celine Dion, husband Rene, Donald Trump & Ivanka Trump

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Entrepreneur Donald Trump and Rev. Al Sharpton speak at a ribbon cutting ceremony for Sharpton's National Action Network Convention April 5, 2002 in New York City. The group aims to further the development of civil rights.

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Donald Trump and his girlfriend Melania Knauss attend the Marc Bouwer/Peta Fall/Winter 2002 Collection show February 14, 2002 during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City.

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Donald Trump at Madison Square Garden

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Donald Trump stands on the sidelines before the start of the AFC divisional playoffs between the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans on January 10, 2004 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Temperatures have reached as low as 7 degrees in the Foxboro area.

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Donald Trump, Visionary Business Leader award honoree, poses with his children Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka at Fashion Group International's 22nd Annual 'Night Of Stars' at Cipriani's 42nd Street October 27, 2005 in New York City.

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Eric Trump and Donald Trump attend the Chicago Bulls vs New Jersey Nets game at the IZOD Center on October 31, 2007 in East Rutherford, New York.

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 Donald Trump delivers a speech with his son Barron after he was honored with the 2,327th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, CA, 16 January 2007.

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Portrait of former model Melania Trump and her husband, businessman Donald Trump, as they sit together at a table during the 16th annual 'Lady in Red' gala, hosted by LIFE (Leaders In Furthering Education), at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, December 4, 2009.

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Donald Trump sands with Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Fernandez of Venezuela prior to the Miss Universe 2010 Pageant Final at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas on August 23, 2010. Miss Universe is an annual international beauty pageant and along with the Miss World is the most publicized beauty contest in the world. California clothing company Pacific Mills founded the contest 1952 and was acquired by Donald Trump in 1996.

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US tycoon Donald Trump arrives to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, on February 27, 2015.

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Donald Trump speaks during the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at the 2015 NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits on April 10, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. The annual NRA meeting and exhibit runs through Sunday.

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Real estate mogul and billionaire Donald Trump attends Golf legend Jack Nicklaus' Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda March 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. Trump announed on March 18 that he has launched a presidential exploratory committee.

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Businessman Donald Trump speaks to guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa gave several Republican presidential hopefuls an opportunity to strengthen their support among Iowa Republicans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucus.

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Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump visits his Scottish golf course Turnberry with his children Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump on July 30, 2015 in Ayr, Scotland. Donald Trump answered questions from the media at a press conference.

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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016.

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Singer Kanye West and President-elect Donald Trump speak with the press after their meetings at Trump Tower December 13, 2016 in New York.

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Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump poses for a photo after an interview with Reuters in his office in Trump Tower, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., May 17, 2016.

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 Coverage of the 2016 Republican National Convention from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, which airs on all ABC News programs and platforms. On this final night of the convention, Donald Trump accepts the party's nomination for President of the United States.

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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts to an answer his wife Melania gives during an interview on NBC's "Today" show in New York, April 21, 2016.

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President-elect Donald Trump speaks to reporters following his meeting with Jack Ma, Chairman of Alibaba Group, meeting at Trump Tower, January 9, 2017 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.

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U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after Trump's address at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump has coffee during a reception ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017.Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump appear on stage at a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a U.S. Air Force Academy football jersey that was presented to him by team captain Weston Steelhammer during the presentation of the Commander-in-Chief trophy in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 2, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers the keynote address at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's "Days of Remembrance" ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, U.S, April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. first lady Melania Trump, their son Barron and the Easter Bunny arrive for the 139th annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 17, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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"Details about US persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value, were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting," Nunes said.

But in a later press conference outside the White House, where he had briefed the president on his findings, Nunes did not stand by Trump's claim that President Barack Obama wiretapped phones at Trump Tower — an accusation he has stuck by without providing evidence.

"No, no, no, no," Nunes said. "That did not happen. I've said this for many, many weeks, including the day after, a couple days after, in front of the press. That never happened."

However, he said he could not be sure whether Obama had ordered any surveillance of Trump during the transition period between November and January. He also said he had "no idea" whether the collection of information about the transition team was intentional spying on behalf of the government.

"We won't know that until we get to the bottom of did people ask for the unmasking of additional names in President Trump's transition team," he said.

In his earlier press conference, Nunes told reporters he believed the information was collected legally under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He said he did not know if the surveillance consisted of phone calls, but that the intelligence reports he had seen "clearly show" Trump and his team were "monitored." He added that the White House was unaware of the information he was providing to the media.

Nunes, who was a member of Trump's transition team himself, is leading the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russia's effort to manipulate the 2016 US presidential election.

During a hearing on Monday, FBI Director James Comey told the committee that the bureau had been investigating potential ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government since late July. Comey also said the Department of Justice could provide no evidence to back up Trump's explosive claim that Obama wiretapped him.

In his press conference outside the White House, Nunes was asked whether it was inappropriate to brief the president on information that could be related to an ongoing investigation into members of his administration and campaign team.

Nunes said he did not believe so.

"Because what I saw had nothing to do with Russia and nothing to do with the Russian investigation," Nunes said. "It has everything to do with possible surveillance activities, and the president needs to know these intelligence reports are out there, and I have a duty to tell him that."

Nunes did not answer a question about whether he was trying to give the president "political cover" for the unproven wiretapping claim by making his revelations public.

Nunes said he and Trump discussed the concerns "that I had with incidental collection and how it relates to his transition team." Nunes said he hoped to have more information on the subject by Friday.

"I'm not drawing any conclusion," Nunes said. "I'm just telling the president what exists in the intelligence reports.

"What I've read seems to me to be some level of surveillance activity, perhaps legal, but I don't know that it's right," he added. "But let us get all the reports. ... I think the president is concerned, and he should be. I think he'd like to see these reports."

Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative who ran an independent presidential campaign in 2016, said that with Nunes saying the communications were "incidentally collected," the real question was "Who was Trump talking to?"

"If what Devin Nunes says is true, Trump was communicating with persons of intelligence or criminal interest," he tweeted. "This is Devin Nunes doing President Trump and Congressional Republicans a favor by muddying the waters on the Trump/Russia investigation."

John Weaver, the chief strategist for Ohio Gov. John Kasich's 2016 presidential campaign, tweeted that it seemed as if Nunes "could be leaking classified information left and right" by discussing the intelligence reports publicly.

SEE ALSO: HOUSE INTEL CHAIR: US intelligence agencies 'incidentally collected' information on Trump's team during transition

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