Rep. Devin Midnight Run Nunes (R-CA), former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who served on Donald Trump’s transition team, conspired with the Trump White House to push the conspiracy theory that Trump Tower was the target of an Obama administration wiretap, even though those claims have been repudiated by Comey, intelligence chiefs and senior Republicans who said there was no evidence for them. Nunes was forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation because of his actions (but continued to interfere).
The House Intelligence Committee investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election failed to call key witnesses, had committee staff interview witnesses who allowed witnesses to decline to answer questions they did not want to answer, and failed to subpoena documents and witnesses for compulsory testimony.
Republicans also turned their so-called investigation into “investigate the investigators” who opened the inquiry into the Trump campaign. These law enforcement and intelligence directors then had their reputations attacked on Fox News aka Trump TV as part of a coordinated propaganda campaign with the Trump White House to dismiss the Russia investigation.
Note: Every individual who was involved in the initial investigation of the Trump campaign and Russia has either been fired or removed in the past two years in a slow-motion “Saturday night massacre.” Trump has replaced these individuals with loyalists who will do his bidding in undermining the independence of the Department of Justice and the rule of law. And yes, this is obstruction of justice.
Rep. Nunes and his GOP cohorts on the House Intelligence Committee conspired with the Trump White House to produce what has widely been dismissed as a “whitewash” report last year (by everyone but Fox News aka Trump TV which trumpeted the report as absolving the Trump campaign). Republicans on House Intelligence Panel Absolve Trump Campaign in Russian Meddling.
In a nearly 100-page dissenting document, Democrats on the Intelligence Committee described the Republicans’ report as little more than a whitewash. The eagerness of Trump campaign aides to accept offers of Russian assistance, they said, suggests “a consciousness of wrongfulness, if not illegality.” The Democrats complained that the committee failed to pursue obvious leads, interview important witnesses or investigate crucial lines of inquiry.
Rep. Nunes, at best, was an accessory after the fact, and at worst a co-conspirator in Trump’s plan to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation.
Trump’s hand-picked attorney General, William Barr, who auditioned for the job with an unsolicited memo stating his legally incorrect belief that the president cannot obstruct justice, saw to it that no obstruction of justice charges were filed. This is an evolving scandal in its own right.
Now that Democrats control Congress, the former minority ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), is now the chairman of the committee. And he intends to conduct the thorough investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign that Devin Nunes and his GOP cohorts purposefully failed to do.
As a result, the Trump White House and Nunes-led Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are, once again, pursuing “investigate the investigators” in order to discredit the Russia investigation. Rep. Adam Schiff is being attacked on Fox News aka Trump TV as part of a coordinated propaganda campaign with the Trump White House to dismiss the Russia investigation.
On Thursday, Rep. Nunes and his GOP cohorts tried to hijack a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee by submitting a letter calling on Chairman Schiff to resign, something they have no ability to do, and almost certainly part of a coordinated propaganda campaign from the Trump White House and Fox News aka Trump TV. Republicans want Adam Schiff to resign as payback for saying Trump colluded with Russia. These Trump apologists and Putin fellow travelers have already dismissed Mueller’s intelligence findings before even seeing them:
House Intelligence Committee Republicans concluded a year ago that the Trump campaign exercised “poor judgment,” “took ill-considered actions” and at times acted “inconsistent with U.S. national security interests.”
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But the same GOP lawmakers who criticized the Trump campaign a year earlier signed a letter Thursday calling the suggestion that any Trump associates were compromised “demonstrably false.”
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), who led the House Intelligence Committee’s “whitewash” Russia probe last year after Rep. Devin Nunes was forced to recuse, used his opening statement to attack Chairman Adam Schiff and call on him to resign. Chairman Schiff was having none of it. Schiff smacks back at Republicans calling for him to resign:
The typically soft-spoken Schiff responded angrily, accusing Republicans of ignoring voluminous evidence of the Trump campaign’s efforts to accept Russia’s help in the election. He noted that Donald Trump Jr. met secretly with a Russian lawyer who he hoped would provide dirt on.
He also noted that Trump helped dictate a false story about his son’s meeting, saying it was about adoption, and during the campaign, openly asked Russia to obtain Clinton’s emails — a comment Trump later construed as a joke.
Video Link to Congressman Schiff’s statement with must see commentary from Lawrence O’Donnell (reminiscent of Edward R. Murrow’s takedown of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Edward R. Murrow editorial on McCarthy (1954)).
Schiff said that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort allegedly provided polling data to a Russian intelligence-linked associate and that his former national security adviser Michael Flynn lied to the FBI about his post-campaign conversations with Russia’s ambassador.
“You might think that’s OK. I don’t,” bellowed Schiff. “I think it’s unethical. I think it’s unpatriotic. I think it’s corrupt and evidence of collusion.”
“I have always said that the question of whether this amounts to conspiracy is another matter,” he continued, adding, “But I do not think that conduct, criminal or not, is OK. And the day we do think that’s OK is the day we will look back and say that is the day America lost its way.”
This is how you deal with Trump apologists and Putin fellow travelers in the crypto-fascist Party of Trump. You take a two-by-four and you smack these unpatriotic and disloyal personality cult followers across the teeth with the facts that they want Americans to ignore and to dismiss in their “alternate reality” post-truth propaganda of Fox News aka Trump TV.
Facts still matter. Truth still matters. This will not stand.
Rep. Schiff’s speech is going to be remembered historically as a defining moment in the Russia investigation, the same as Joseph Welch addressing Senator Joseph McCarthy in the Army-McCarthy hearings with “Have you no sense of decency?” “Overnight, McCarthy’s immense national popularity evaporated. Censured by his Senate colleagues, ostracized by his party, and ignored by the press, McCarthy died three years later, 48 years old and a broken man.”
This is your future, Devin Nunes.
The personality cult of Donald Trump and “Trumpism” cannot survive the truth.
UPDATE: Adam Schiff’s full statement:
“My colleagues might think it’s OK that the Russians offered dirt on the Democratic candidate for president as part of what’s described as the Russian government’s effort to help the Trump campaign. You might think that’s OK.
“My colleagues might think it’s OK that when that was offered to the son of the president, who had a pivotal role in the campaign, that the president’s son did not call the FBI; he did not adamantly refuse that foreign help – no, instead that son said that he would ‘love’ the help with the Russians.
You might think it’s OK that he took that meeting. You might think it’s OK that Paul Manafort, the campaign chair, someone with great experience running campaigns, also took that meeting. You might think it’s OK that the president’s son-in-law also took that meeting. You might think it’s OK that they concealed it from the public. You might think it’s OK that their only disappointment after that meeting was that the dirt they received on Hillary Clinton wasn’t better. You might think that’s OK.
“You might think it’s OK that when it was discovered, a year later, that they then lied about that meeting and said that it was about adoptions. You might think that it’s OK that it was reported that the president helped dictate that lie. You might think that’s OK. I don’t.
“You might think it’s OK that the campaign chairman of a presidential campaign would offer information about that campaign to a Russian oligarch in exchange for money or debt forgiveness. You might think that’s OK, I don’t.
“You might think it’s OK that that campaign chairman offered polling data to someone linked to Russian intelligence. I don’t think that’s OK.
“You might think it’s OK that the president himself called on Russia to hack his opponent’s emails, if they were listening. You might think it’s OK that later that day, in fact, the Russians attempted to hack a server affiliated with that campaign. I don’t think that’s OK.
“You might think it’s OK that the president’s son-in-law sought to establish a secret back channel of communication with the Russians through a Russian diplomatic facility. I don’t think that’s OK.
“You might think it’s OK that an associate of the president made direct contact with the GRU through Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks, that is considered a hostile intelligence agency. You might think it’s OK that a senior campaign official was instructed to reach that associate and find out what that hostile intelligence agency had to say in terms of dirt on his opponent.
“You might think it’s OK that the national security adviser designate secretly conferred with the Russian ambassador about undermining U.S. sanctions, and you might think it’s OK that he lied about it to the FBI.
“You might say that’s all OK, that’s just what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s OK. I don’t think it’s OK. I think it’s immoral, I think it’s unethical, I think it’s unpatriotic and, yes, I think it’s corrupt – and evidence of collusion.”
“Now I have always said that the question of whether this amounts to proof of conspiracy was another matter. Whether the special counsel could prove beyond a reasonable doubt the proof of that crime would be up to the special counsel, and I would accept his decision, and I do. He’s a good and honorable man, and he is a good prosecutor.
“But I do not think that conduct, criminal or not, is OK. And the day we do think that’s OK is the day we will look back and say that is the day that America lost its way.”
“And I will tell you one more thing that is apropos of the hearing today: I don’t think it’s OK that during a presidential campaign Mr. Trump sought the Kremlin’s help to consummate a real estate deal in Moscow that would make him a fortune – according to the special counsel, hundreds of millions of dollars. I don’t think it’s OK to conceal it from the public. I don’t think it’s OK that he advocated a new and more favorable policy towards the Russians even as he was seeking the Russians’ help, the Kremlin’s help to make money. I don’t think it’s OK that his attorney lied to our committee.
There is a different word for that than collusion, and it’s called ‘compromise.’
“And that is the subject of our hearing today.”