|Devin Nunes - White House co-conspirator?|
Watergate may yet pale in comparison to what appears to be unfolding in the efforts to investigate the ties - and possible treason - of members of the Trump/Pence campaign and of Trump and pence themselves. With Trump minion Mike Flynn now seeking immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony it would appear that there is indeed fire, not just smoke swirling around the scandal. Now, three White House officials have been identified as the parties that supplied materials to Devin Nunes, - who chairs a committee that is supposed to be investigating the White House - in an effort to protect Trump and his surrogates and henchmen. But for the seriousness of the what is happening, one would think that were were living through a Hollywood espionage thriller movie. One of the obvious questions is that of who at the White House directed these White House officials to take the actions they took. Was it Bannon or perhaps Trump himself? The Washington Post reports on the ever growing scandal. Here are excerpts:
At least three senior White House officials, including the top lawyer for the National Security Council, were involved in the handling of intelligence files that were shared with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and showed that Trump campaign officials were swept up in U.S. surveillance of foreign nationals, according to U.S. officials.
The White House role in the matter contradicts assertions by the committee’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and adds to mounting concerns that the Trump administration is collaborating with the leader of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
One of those involved in procuring the documents cited by Nunes has close ties to former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The official, Ezra Cohen, survived a recent attempt to oust him from his White House job by appealing to Trump advisers Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon, the officials said.
Nunes reviewed the material during a surreptitious visit to the White House grounds last week. He then returned the next day in a visit he said was arranged so that he could brief Trump on what Nunes depicted as potential abuses by U.S. spy agencies brought to his attention by an unnamed source.
That assertion is under new scrutiny after U.S. officials confirmed that three senior officials at the National Security Council — considered part of the White House — played roles in the collection and handling of information shared with Nunes.
The officials said that the classified files were gathered by Cohen, the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council. . . . Cohen took the matter to the top lawyer for the National Security Council, John Eisenberg.
The third White House official involved was identified as Michael Ellis, a lawyer who previously worked with Nunes on the House Intelligence Committee but joined the Trump administration as an attorney who reports to Eisenberg. Ellis and Eisenberg report to the White House counsel, Donald McGahn.
Nunes, who served as an adviser to the Trump transition team, said the files he reviewed had made him concerned that U.S. intelligence agencies had mishandled information on members of the Trump campaign, although Nunes acknowledged that he saw no evidence of illegality.
The U.S. official said Cohen was not involved in showing the material to Nunes, didn’t clear Nunes onto the White House grounds, didn’t review the material with Nunes and wasn’t even aware that the material was going to be shared with the committee chairman.Even so, White House officials appear to have recognized the value of Cohen’s material in defending Trump from criticism for his false accusation that he had been wiretapped by Obama.
During a preliminary meeting this month to discuss the possibility of Flynn testifying before Congress, Flynn’s attorney said he wanted to explore the possibility of his client receiving full immunity in exchange for his participation.
Intelligence committee lawyers responded to the attorney by saying that immunity request, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, was premature. “That’s not on the table,” an official said. “We aren’t entertaining immunity for anybody.”
Flynn frequently battled with the CIA, which mounted a failed effort to have Cohen removed from his job.
The stench just continues to grow. Nunes needs to be removed from his committee chairmanship and investigated along with Trump and the rest of the possible traitors who may have colluded with a hostile enemy power.