|Devin Nunes (R-Calif.),|
Chair of the House
But here comes little Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) yesterday to change the subject and sow confusion by immolating himself in front of the press. Nunes is the chair of the House Intelligence Committee and is supposed to be leading the House's investigation into the Russian subversion of our election. But he was also a member in good standing of Trump's transition team, so yuge conflict of interest.
But yesterday was the capper:
1. Nunes suddenly called a press conference and charged American spy agencies of gathering and sharing information unrelated to the Russian charges that was inadvertently picked up in "communication intercepts" of conversations involving foreign nationals who are presumably targets for investigation. (According to the NYTimes, "American intelligence agencies typically monitor foreign officials of allied and hostile countries, and they routinely sweep up communications linked to Americans who may be taking part in the conversation or are being spoken about.")
2. Nunes also admitted that he had no evidence that Trump or his associates had been directly eavesdropped on.
3. The real horror, Mr. Nunes told reporters, was that "he could figure out the identities of Trump associates from reading reports about intercepted communications that were shared among Obama administration officials with top security clearances. He said some Trump associates were also identified by name in the reports." Which is why he went running to the White House with the leaked information to tattle to the man he's supposed to be investigating.
4. In a second impromptu press conference on the driveway outside the White House, following his moment with Trump, Nunes was clearly trying to steer everyone away from the Comey bombshell on Monday by dangling the newest shiny object: dastardly leaks of classified information and inappropriate behavior by the intelligence agencies.
5. Nunes said he received the information from an anonymous source ... after criticizing the media for publishing leaks.
6. He shared it with the press before his Intelligence Committee colleagues, including ranking Democrat Adam B. Schiff of California.
7. He went to the White House to brief Trump about the material despite leading an investigation involving the Trump administration.
For his part, Trump was clearly refreshed that Nunes had set himself on fire on the White House driveway: “I very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found.”
What would be happening today in America if this spectacle of improper tattling had happened between a Democratic House investigative committee chair and, say, President Hillary Clinton? Hmmm? Any idea?
The noose is tightening around this White House. Yesterday actually started with an AP investigative report that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had "agreed to advance Vladimir Putin’s political interests beginning in 2006 under a multimillion-dollar contract with one of the Russian president’s key allies."
It's always the cover-up that gets 'em.
In the meantime, Nunes must go. Go quickly. Go far away from any semblance of public trust.