Rep. Devin Nunes is the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee charged with investigating the possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and state-sponsored Russian hackers working to disrupt the 2016 election and western democracy as a whole. Many have questioned whether Nunes should be involved with the investigation in light of the fact that he was a key executive member of Trump’s transition team. The other members of that small team include Dr. Ben Carson, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Governor Chris Christie and the now disgraced Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Several members of that elite team were rewarded for their loyalty to Trump, two were named to cabinet positions. Nunes must’ve been a highly regarded member of the inner circle to be tapped by Trump for that role.
And here we find ourselves with Nunes leading the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and an enemy state. Instead of grilling FBI Director for information on possible collusion, Nunes and the other Republicans on the committee repeatedly used their time to question Director Comey about who leaked the news Lt. Gen. Flynn and AG Jeff Sessions had repeated contact with the Russians. Not interested in the collusion with an enemy state, only interested in who leaked—even going so far as suggesting reporters who published the information should potentially face charges. Seriously.
All of that leads us to the most incredibly infuriating part of Monday’s proceedings. It occurred after the committee hearing ended and Nunes was fielding a few questions in the hallway. David Corn, Washington bureau chief of Mother Jones, joined a press gaggle peppering Nunes with questions and Corn’s report (and video below) are absolutely damning:
After the hearings, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chair of the committee, sort of shrugged when asked why the Republicans had zeroed in on this leak and said almost nothing about Putin’s assault on American democracy. Maybe it was “overemphasized,” he said. But he contended the Flynn leak was the only crime involved in this widening scandal. When a reporter noted that hacking a political party, stealing its documents, and leaking them would qualify as a crime, Nunes grinned and said: maybe it was, but that was done by a foreign actor.
When I asked Nunes whether he agreed with Trump’s recent tweet that the “Russia story” was “fake news” cooked up by Democrats, he wouldn’t provide a straight answer. What part of the Russia story was Trump referring to? he asked. I countered: Is this all made up by Democrats? Nunes replied that he didn’t know. He was, though, quick to say he has seen no evidence of any coordination between the Trump camp and the Russians during the campaign. But, as another reporter pointed out, the committee has just started its investigation. Oh yeah, Nunes said.