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Trump’s Fool On The Hill: Nunes Makes Mockery Of Russia Investigation

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Trump’s Fool On The Hill: Nunes Makes Mockery Of Russia Investigation

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Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, could not have been clearer in his questioning of FBI director James Comey last week.

NUNES: Director Comey, I remain extremely concerned about the widespread illegal leaks that you just referenced in your—in your testimony. Just for the record though, I wanna get this on the record.

Does the unauthorized disclosure of classified information to the press violate 18 USC 793, a section of the Espionage Act that criminalizes improperly accessing handling or transmitting national defense information?

COMEY: Yes.

NUNES: Would an unauthorized disclosure of FISA-derived information to the press violate 18 USC 798, a section of the Espionage Act that criminalizes the disclosure of information concerning the communication and intelligence activities of the United States?

COMEY: Yes, in addition to being a breach of our trust with the FISA Court that oversees our use of those authorities.

NUNES: Thank you, Director.

The next day, Nunes made an unannounced late-night visit to the White House and spoke with unidentified official (but possibly a former Nunes staffer) about FISA-derived information. Nunes then spoke to reporters and said that he had “confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition.”

Nunes explained:

“Details about U.S. persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value, were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting.”

Trump proceeded to claim vindication for his baseless claim that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. Nunes’ statement most definitely did not confirm Trump’s claim, but that was hardly the biggest problem with Nunes’ charge.

The Washington Post noted that, “Nunes’s statements appear to center on surveillance approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secretive panel that authorizes the interception of communications of known or suspected agents of foreign powers—such as ambassadors—or terrorism suspects.”

In other words, if Nunes wasn’t making up the whole story, he made an unauthorized disclosure of FISA-derived classified information in violation of the Espionage Act—exactly what he criticized others for doing.

After Nunes sabotaged the strategy of House Republicans to investigate the leaks, not the accumulating evidence, Trump was reduced to demanding that Congress investigate Hillary Clinton’s ties to a Russian uranium deal, which are not the subject of an FBI investigation.

That didn’t work either. When former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates indicated her desire to testify on Tuesday to the Intelligence Committee about how former NSC adviser Michael Flynn dissembled on his pre-inauguration meetings with Russian officials, Nunes abruptly canceled the previously scheduled hearing.

Nunes has disqualified himself as the leader of the Intelligence Committee’s investigation, said ranking minority member Rep. Adam Schiff. On Monday night, he called on Nunes to “recuse himself from any further involvement in the Russia investigation” and all “oversight matters pertaining to any incidental collection of the Trump transition.”

Nunes dismissed Schiff’s call and House Speaker Paul Ryan said Nunes would continue as chairman, though it’s hard to see why the Republicans would want him to.

Nunes implicated himself in a possible violation of the law, destroyed the Republicans’ preferred line of defense, and implicitly admitted that the administration has no rebuttal to Yates’ testimony.

As Colin Kahl, former national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, said on Twitter on Monday, “There are a lot of things we still don’t know about Trump-Russia ties. But there are actually a lot of things we DO know.

Kahl listed 36 points of fact, none of which Nunes seems prepared to respond to, much less rebut.

In the understatement of the week, thePost’s Aaron Blake said “Nunes isn’t very good at this.”

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35 Comments

  1. Thoughtopsy March 28, 2017

    Wow… Nunes should write a book…
    “How to Screw Up A Major Investigation and Look Like a Paid Sycophant For Dummies…”

    Paul Ryan can follow it up with:
    “How to Screw Up Critical Legislation with Basic Foreseeable Failures and Look Intensely Hypocritical While Doing So For Dummies…”

    Reply
    1. amtyjwmen March 29, 2017

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    2. plc97477 March 29, 2017

      I don’t know. Calling them “dummies” makes them sound relatively mensa. I can’t believe they don’t understand how this looks to others.

      1. TZToronto March 29, 2017

        Boehner, er, Ryan should be canned. He is inept. However, his role as Speaker is helpful in ensuring that crucial regressive legislation never gets to a vote. And if Ryan suddenly becomes capable, Trump will tweet something to upset the applecart. Very effective. And if destructive laws do get through Congress and reach Trump’s desk for signing, lawsuits opposing the laws will find many willing sponsors.

        1. plc97477 March 29, 2017

          True. They are so stupid they may accidentally do something right. And at the very least they will keep each other busy with things that are not going to do anything but keep Lawyers busy for a while.

      2. themidniteskulker March 29, 2017

        Does this mean that’s the best they can do?

  2. Phil Christensen March 29, 2017

    The Russians gave up communism and some will never forgive them. I get it. But perhaps edging us toward war isn’t the way to go.

    Reply
    1. Yolandamfloyd March 29, 2017

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    2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 29, 2017

      What viral infection warped your mind to come up with such a foolish assertion? Do you know what the Politiburo doesn’t know?
      And what , pray tell, has Communism been replaced with, oh expert on Russian affairs? I’m certain the top institutions and Russian Studies groups would love to tap into your source of wisdom(?).
      Whose edging whom to war—you and your slavish adoration for Trump and the GOP, the GOP itself, or mindless sycophants in the employ of Putin?

      In the meantime, your pathetic attempt to divert attention from the focus of our concerns is an utter failure. Try again.

      1. Phil Christensen March 29, 2017

        Triggered. Don’t stomp on your pink cat-ears hat, now.

        1. Remember when you got all homophobic then ran away when I told you that science had concluded there was no such thing as a straight homophobe? Good times, good times. Also you told an outrageous lie about Warren and couldn’t back it up, so you ran away like an infant.

        2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 29, 2017

          An amusing response worthy of an 8th grader.

    3. Oh hi, it’s that neo-Nazi dude who became abusive then ran away when I pointed out he was lying about how Warren made her money. Good to have you crawling back! I’ll expect your formal apology immediately.

    4. OK thanks for the input, climate-change denier.

  3. I of John March 29, 2017

    Independent investigation is the only sure way to go now. The alleged crimes are building up.

    Reply
    1. ORAXX March 29, 2017

      There are far too many coincidences, to ever believe we are looking at mere coincidence.

  4. FireBaron March 29, 2017

    Jefferson, you keep forgetting something important. Republicans never commit a crime when they do these actions, like leaking classified information to the press. Only Democrats commit a crime when someone else believes they may have “leaked” information that was not classified at the time it was revealed, but that someone else at a later time decided to classify it.
    And if it is the President, as he has the ultimate authority over classification, he can declassify something long enough to state it publicly (or on his 4:30 AM Twitter tirade), then reclassify it so nobody else can find out anything about it.

    Reply
    1. Megankbaldwin March 30, 2017

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  5. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 29, 2017

    Plato’s “Ship of Fools” is firmly anchored in DC, and Captain Trump is at the helm. Spicer, Comey, Nunes are swabbing the deck with admirable alacrity.

    Reply
  6. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 29, 2017

    Nunes’ behavior, the complicity of Ryan, Trump, and his Administration, the ineffectiveness of a political system lacking any signs of unanimity may very well let Trump and Putin off the hook.
    You see, the degree of corruption foreseen and elaborated on at length in Shoghi Effendi’s letter in 1938 becomes ever more clearer to us with each passing day. Trump may appear to be using the chaos to his advantage, but there is a higher force at work here. Not intervening directly, a Source transcending our comprehension, is allowing this farce to continue—a farce which began with the establishment of a political system founded on divisiveness, confrontation, and materialism. In the bigger picture of things, it’s best to let a rotted out structure, propped up on the stilts of a godless capitalism and a partisan-political structure, to let itself self-destruct and crumble. But, there is an organic embryonic replacement being quietly improved and exercising its abilities to be in place when the current Order collapses under its own weight. Otherwise, the Baha’is would be as irresponsible in allowing for the collapse without offering a replacement as Trump was when he said let the current Healthcare system collapse(and even contribute to its flaws) by having nothing solid to offer as a replacement.

    For now, Trump, Putin, the GOP, and Nunes, are the chief architects of the current collapse—a collapse that will harm Putin, Europe, and China as well in the long-run.

    Reply
  7. johninPCFL March 29, 2017

    It would be interesting to see the responses from Ryan or Nunes if they were asked to explain how those comments in the two Nunes’ press conferences were not violations of the espionage act.
    Be sure to don your pretzel-logic gear to listen to the responses…

    Reply
  8. ORAXX March 29, 2017

    It’s too bad Nunes isn’t old enough to remember Watergate. If he was, he might recognize he’s pursuing a strategy that has a far better chance of blowing up in his face than it does of succeeding. Nunes is in miles over his head, and doesn’t appear to have any real understanding of just what’s at stake here. He has put loyalty to Donald Trump ahead of every other consideration, including the congress, and the country.

    Reply
  9. Phil Christensen March 29, 2017

    Well, as everyone can see, I have a mental patient following me around these threads.

    Reply
    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 30, 2017

      It’s your alter-ego. You know—the man behind the curtain. Pay no attention to him.

      Please get a grip, Phillip. These are heady times, and you should take a break from the fast and furious pace.

    2. Yes, the reason you can’t find a single instance of Warren flipping a foreclosed property is that I’m crazy, not that you’re brainlessly repeating Donald Trump.

  10. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 30, 2017

    Nunes’ and Ryan’s addictions to partisanship have placed another unnecessary roadblock in front of the nation’s quest to get to the bottom of the Russian involvement in assisting Trump significantly in Nov. ‘2016.
    By doing so, Nunes, Ryan, Trump, etc,., are mindless twits assisting Putin, which only emboldens Putin to continue this form of warfare here, and against neighboring countries.

    Reply
  11. Phil Christensen March 30, 2017

    Make that two mental patients following me around. So sad.

    Reply
    1. OK sorry you’re impotent in every sense of the word. Better luck copy-pasting dumb lies next time!

  12. Phil Christensen March 31, 2017

    Did someone remember to get Crazier Than You his meds and put him to bed last night? He’s apparently still on here denying news articles that reported Elizabeth Warren flipping houses. Why anyone would have a problem with someone making money legally is certainly one for the books.

    Reply
  13. Phil Christensen March 31, 2017

    I hope someone got Crazier Than You his meds and put him to bed last night. Not sure why he’s bringing Elizabeth Warren into a thread that has nothing to do with her. She flipped houses in Oklahoma. So what? It was legal. It was reported in a number of Left of Center papers. Some people simply can’t move on .org.

    Reply
    1. ^ I almost feel sorry for this guy. Not only can he not come to terms with his sexuality, but he’s such a coward he can’t even admit when he’s wrong – for example, he repeated an ALTERNATIVE FACT from Donald “Treason” Trump’s dumb brain, and now he can’t back it up. As with all lickspittles, all he has left is pretending that everyone ELSE is wrong, somehow.

    2. It’s also hilarious that you’re complaining that Elizabeth Warren isn’t mentioned in this article. You yourself brought up your copy-pasted lie in an article that had nothing to do with her, in one of your increasingly desperate yet feeble attempts to excuse Republican treason and corruption.

  14. Phil Christensen March 31, 2017

    Apparently, Crazier Than You thinks I’m talking to him. Here’s hoping the voices in his head allow him to get some sleep tonight. Perhaps we can have a constructive debate on another thread. Peace and Tranquillity.

    Reply
    1. Yes, you ARE a coward, as well as a dull liar.

    2. Reminder: “Warren made her F-U money by flipping foreclosure properties.” <- this is an outright lie.

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