Nunes’ role as the head of House Intelligence has always been in direct conflict with another of his positions.
Nunes, 43, has said he is committed to leading an impartial inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, and search for any evidence of coordination with Trump or his associates. But Nunes, who served as an adviser on Trump’s transition team, has also at times used his position as chair of the intelligence committee in ways that seem aligned with the interests of the White House.
Ways that “seem aligned” include Nunes repeatedly appearing on television and in print to “knock down” stories of Trump—Russia connections, even though some of those connections later turned out to be based on a lot more evidence than Nunes admitted. It also includes Nunes’ incredible performance when James Comey appeared before the committee, in which Nunes asked not a single question about the supposed topic of the hearing, but tried to get Comey to say that leakers were the real problem.
Nunes’s latest move came Friday, when he made a flurry of announcements that on the surface signaled promising new investigative paths, including an agreement to hear testimony from Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. But to Democrats, Nunes’s actions again seemed to show the hidden agenda of the White House.
What makes it a hidden agenda? Well, to start with Nunes, acting alone, again made a series of deals with the White House, and Nunes again called a press conference before bothering to tell the other members of his committee what the conference was about, or that he had been discussing testimony with members of the Trump regime, in private. That hidden agenda.
And there’s one other little thing that Nunes slipped into his press conference without bothering to tell anyone beforehand:
Most immediately, Nunes canceled an open hearing that had been scheduled for Tuesday with former senior officials who have battled Trump. Among them is former acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates, who was fired by Trump; former director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., who publicly disputed Trump’s wiretapping claim; and former CIA director John Brennan, who has said that Trump should “be ashamed of himself” over his behavior toward U.S. spy agencies.
It may seem like Devin Nunes is using the power of his position with the committee to stifle anyone who might say anything embarrassing about Trump, and using his inside connections at the White House to discuss in advance how Trump associates might testify to their advantage, and using his intelligence connections to warn his friends instead of search for the truth, and doing his best to sabotage any general narrative that begins to emerge in the press. It seems like that, because it is like that.
And by the way: Who called Devin Nunes, what did they say, and where did he go before meeting with Ryan? We’re seriously at the point where Nunes should move from being the leader of an investigation, to being the primary subject.
In fact, it’s very easy to believe that what caused Nunes to leap from that car is hearing his own name turn up on the FBI radar in relation to a meeting between Michael Flynn and his Turkish clients.
House Intelligence Committee Congressman, Devin Nunes, a Republican heavyweight, also attended the breakfast.
Was it an investigation of Flynn that cause Nunes to go screaming onto the sidewalks? In any case, it now appears that the go to Ryan, then go to Trump narrative may not be an accurate timeline for Nunes’ lost afternoon.
It has been something of a mystery, the whereabouts of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes on the day before his announcement that he saw information suggesting that communications of then-President-elect Donald Trump and his advisers may have been swept up in surveillance of other foreign nationals.
One source told CNN that Nunes, a California Republican, was seen on the White House grounds the day before his announcement. In a phone interview, Nunes confirmed to CNN that he was on the White House grounds that day -- but he said he was not in the White House itself. (Other buildings, including the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, are on the same grounds.)
No one has confirmed just where Nunes went or who he talked to, but it seems a fair bet he wasn’t wandering the grounds as a test for the Secret Service.
One thing is certain—Devin Nunes can no longer even pretend to lead any sort of reasonable investigation.