Well, now that the damage is done…
I find Devin Nunes’ sudden bout of religion a bit disingenuous, but it is what it is.
On Wednesday, Nunes gave a press conference, announcing that a source had revealed to him that, indeed, members of Trump’s transition team were “incidentally” swept up in surveillance.
Said Nunes today:
“It’s a judgement call on my part,” he said Thursday when NBC News asked why he spoke with Trump and the media before House Intelligence Committee Democrats.
“At the end of the day sometime you make the right decision, sometimes you don’t,” Nunes added, noting he could not show the panel information that was given to him by a source.
He went on to say he wouldn’t reveal his source.
So let’s make sure we have this right: A Trump loyalist bypassed the investigating committee he chairs, briefed the president, pushed it to the media, but nobody has seen his evidence and he will not reveal his source.
I will repeat what I said in an earlier piece: If this were a Democrat doing the same thing, we would be losing our collective minds.
“Details about the U.S. persons involved in the incoming administration with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reports,” he told reporters.
“I want to be clear – none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team,” he added, noting he believes the information was collected legally.
Basically, nothing, but it was presented in a way that would feed the internet trolldom, and create this firestorm against the intelligence community, the committee that is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election – Nunes’ committee, by the way – and give the appearance that Trump was right, all along, regarding former President Obama “wiretapping” Trump Tower.
This comes after Monday’s testimony by FBI Director James Comey that there was no evidence that anyone had Trump surveilled.
Funky timing, right?
While Comey says there was no evidence of Trump Tower being “wiretapped,” and even House Republicans have stepped forward to say they’ve seen no evidence, Nunes says he has evidence, but he’s not showing it to anybody.
The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, expressed his frustration over how Nunes handled this, and he was right.
“If accurate, this information should have been shared with members of the committee, but it has not been,” he said.
“The chairman also shared this information with the White House before providing it to the committee, another profound irregularity, given that the matter is currently under investigation. I have expressed my grave concerns with the chairman that a credible investigation cannot be conducted this way.”
Even Nunes has admitted that this was handled poorly.
Schiff’s reaction is predictable, but I’m curious to hear how other Republicans on the committee respond.
Seriously, if we’re so blinded by partisanship that the way this was handled doesn’t bother us, then how are we better than liberal Democrats?