How Devin Nunes found himself in Washington’s crosshairs

by WorldTribune Staff, July 29, 2018

In seeking answers on the FBI’s activity during the 2016 presidential election, Rep. Devin Nunes has “provoked extraordinary partisan and institutional fury in Washington,” a report said.

Nunes’s efforts have put the chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence in the crosshairs in D.C. “across the aisle, in the FBI and other law-enforcement and intelligence agencies, in the media,” Kimberley A. Strassel wrote in a July 27 report for the Wall Street Journal.

Rep. Devin Nunes chairs the the House Select Committee on Intelligence

“On any given day there are dozens of attacks, each one wilder in its claims,” Nunes told Strassel, who asked “Why does he keep at it?”

“First of all, because it’s my job,” Nunes said. “This is a basic congressional investigation, and we follow the facts.”

The “bigger picture,” Nunes said, is that in “a lot of the bad and problematic countries” that Intelligence Committee members investigate, “this is what they do there.  There is a political party that controls the intelligence agencies, controls the media, all to ensure that party stays in power. If we get to that here, we no longer have a functioning republic. We can’t let that happen.”

“There are going to be two histories written here,” Nunes said. “The fiction version will come from an entire party, and former and even current intelligence heads, and the media, who will continue trying to cover up what they did. It’s our job to write the nonfiction.”

The D.C. hammer first came down on Nunes “immediately after” he joined the Trump transition team, the report said.

Claims that he was cozying up to Russian President Vladimir Putin started on social media, but were taken to the next level when outlets such as MSNBC were openly asking if he was a “Russian agent.”

“I’ve been a Russia hawk going way back,” Nunes said. “I was the one who only six months earlier had called the Obama administration’s failure to understand Putin’s plans and intentions the largest intelligence failure since 9/11. So these attacks, surreal – big red flag.”

When Nunes first read media stories alluding to an investigation of the Trump campaign, he dismissed them.

“We’re supposed to get briefed. Plus, I was thinking: ‘Comey, FBI, they’re good people and would never do this in an election. Nah,’ ” Nunes told Strassel.

The Journal’s report noted that The New York Times “quoted unnamed government officials who claimed the Russia investigation had hinged not on the dossier but on a conversation with another low-level Trump aide, George Papadopoulos. The next day, the Washington Post ran a story asserting – falsely, Nunes insists – that even his Republican colleagues had lost confidence in him.”

Nunes told Strassel: “So, a leak about how the dossier doesn’t matter after all, and another saying I’m out there alone. And right then DOJ and FBI suddenly demand a private meeting with the speaker, where they try to convince him to make me stand down. All this is not a coincidence.”

Nunes memo, released to the public in February, which reported that the Steele dossier had in fact Nunes did not stand down and soon after released a memo to the public which said the dossier by ex-British spy Christopher Steele had “formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application” – and that the FBI had failed to inform the FISA court of the document’s partisan provenance.

“We kept the memo to four pages,” Nunes said. “We wanted it clean. And we thought: That’s it, it’s over. The American public now knows that they were using dirt to investigate a political campaign, a U.S. citizen, and everyone will acknowledge the scandal.”

That isn’t what happened, Strassel’s report noted. Instead, “Democrats put out their own memo, the media attacked us more, and the FBI and DOJ continue to obfuscate,” Nunes said.

Earlier this year, Nunes obtained information showing the FBI had used informants to gather intelligence on the Trump campaign. The DOJ has yet to produce documents Nunes requested in the inquiry.

“We still don’t know how many informants were run before July 31, 2016” – the official open of the counterintelligence investigation – “and how much they were paid. That’s the big outstanding question,” Nunes said, adding that the DOJ and FBI haven’t done anything about unmaskings or taken action against the (Mike) Flynn leakers – because, in his view, “they are too busy working with Democrats to cover all this up.”

Nunes added that Republicans are running out of time in their investigations as the midterm elections approach with dozens of witnesses still to be interviewed.

“But this was always the DOJ/FBI plan,” Nunes told Strassel. “They are slow-rolling, because they are wishing and betting the Republicans lose the House.”

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