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On Sunday, the Daily Caller reported (covered here by my colleague Nick Arama) that Rep. Devin Nunes — fresh off his redemption thanks to the Horowitz report proving him correct and his counterpart Rep. Adam Schiff incorrect — sent a letter to the latter saying the California Democrat was complicit in the smear of Trump associate Carter Page. From the Daily Caller:
Nunes noted that “the IG’s findings of pervasive, major abuses by the FBI dramatically contradict the assertions of your memo released on February 24, 2018, in which you claimed, ‘FBI and DOJ officials did not ‘abuse’ the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process, omit material information, or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump Campaign.’”
The GOP congressman is not optimistic about Schiff’s “rehabilitation,” writing that it will require Schiff to admit that he had denied abuses in the DOJ and FBI while being “complicit in the violation of an American’s civil liberties.“
In a parting shot, Nunes cited Schiff’s “years-long false claim that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to hack the 2016 presidential election.” Schiff persisted in telling the media that the evidence of collusion could be “found in plain sight,” while Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report found no evidence of collusion.
While Nunes may be seeking — and feeling less than optimistic about — a Schiff rehabilitation, other Americans may want more than just a public dressing down of Schiff and some therapy sessions where he gets in touch with what he did wrong.
On a personal note, this is the most common complaint I hear from Americans as they’ve watched the entire Russia collusion/impeachment scam play out: their fear that absolutely no one will be held accountable.
And Schiff may be in it up to his ears. He had, for example, a weird meeting with Fusion founder Glenn Simpson in July 2018 that almost no one was willing to talk about. Granted, both Simpson and Schiff’s comms teams downplayed the meeting as social and serendipitous. But John Solomon, while still at The Hill, noted that it was a strange meeting nonetheless, and it was caught on film.
They show Schiff meeting at the event with Fusion GPS Founder Glenn Simpson, one of the key and most controversial figures in the Russia collusion scandal. Both men insisted to me through spokesmen that they met only briefly last July.
There is nothing illegal or technically improper about a congressman meeting, intentionally or unintentionally, with a witness in an investigation. At least not under the law or the House Intelligence Committee’s rules.
But Schiff created a far higher standard two years ago when he demanded that his Republican counterpart on the committee, then-Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), be investigated for having meetings with national security council officials at the Trump White House without telling the committee. Schiff’s attacks led Nunes to temporarily recuse himself from the Russia probe.
Schiff assailed Nunes’s contacts with a source outside the committee confines as “a dead-of-night excursion” and said it called into question the impartiality of the inquiry because the committee wasn’t informed.
“I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the president’s campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chairman,” Schiff said at the time.
No wonder Nunes was so quick to fire off a letter condemning Schiff’s behavior. But is a strongly worded letter enough punishment for false accusations, wasting taxpayer time and money, and violating all kinds of procedural rules to hold impeachment inquiry meetings that may have been little more than a distraction from Schiff’s complicity in smearing Page?
Turns out I’m not the only one hearing the complaint that nothing seems to happen to these lawmakers who abuse their power. Following Schiff’s stunt of literally making up the text of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, Republican members of the House were outraged — and so were online commenters at Lifezette:
The Schiff comments have continued to prompt outrage. Among other comments, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called out Schiff for his use of “fake dialogue” to describe the president’s phone call.
Online readers have been reacting as well. One wrote, “Schiff should be in jail” for his behavior.
Another said, “It may very well be that it is time for the American people to exercise our duty to the Constitution and protect our country from domestic enemies!”
“This man has sold his soul to try and impeach our president with made-up lies,” said another about Schiff.
“I immediately thought that this was out of place and dangerous,” wrote yet another person. “Anybody watching, without reading [the] actual transcript, could have been swayed, especially if that’s the only part they watched.”
It is perhaps the biggest difference between the average American and the privileged legislator: if the average American did the things these legislators are accused of doing, they would be prosecuted under the law. Or, at the very least, forced to resign or outright fired.
And average Americans notice the difference. And they’re tired of it.