|Is Nunes conspiring with Trump to derail the Russia investigation?|
I love to read spy and espionage thrillers. Books like those written by David Baldacci or Nelson DeMille which have plots that pale in comparison to what is now taking place in Washington, D.C. Between possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives to just released news that a group of Congressional Republicans have been using materials gathered by the House Intelligence Committee investigating collusion with Russia to run their own effort to discredit the FBI, the U.S. Justice Department and the CIA. The beneficiary of the effort? Der Trumpenführer, of course, and perhaps Republicans who knew of illicit communications between Trump personnel and Russian operatives. Politico broke the news of this pernicious GOP undertaking. Note how Democrats were kept in the dark even as the White House was involved in the effort. Here are excerpts:
A group of House Republicans has gathered secretly for weeks in the Capitol in an effort to build a case that senior leaders of the Justice Department and FBI improperly — and perhaps criminally — mishandled the contents of a dossier that describes alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia, according to four people familiar with their plans.
A subset of the Republican members of the House intelligence committee, led by Chairman Devin Nunes of California, has been quietly working parallel to the committee's high-profile inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. They haven't informed Democrats about their plans, but they have consulted with the House's general counsel.
The people familiar with Nunes' plans said the goal is to highlight what some committee Republicans see as corruption and conspiracy in the upper ranks of federal law enforcement. The group hopes to release a report early next year detailing their concerns about the DOJ and FBI, and they might seek congressional votes to declassify elements of their evidence.
That final product could ultimately be used by Republicans to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether any Trump aides colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign — or possibly even to justify his dismissal, as some rank-and-file Republicans and Trump allies have demanded. Tuesday, his son Donald Trump Jr. told a crowd in Florida the probes were part of a “rigged system” by “people at the highest levels of government” who were working to hurt
the president[Trump]. The sources familiar with the separate inquiry said it was born out of steadily building frustration with the Justice Department's refusal to share details of the way the Trump dossier was used to launch the FBI's investigation of his campaign team last year — or whether it was the basis for any court-ordered surveillance of Trump associates. It's unclear how many members of the intelligence committee are participating in the side effort. Lawmakers on the full committee interviewed by POLITICO refused to discuss it. A congressional aide with knowledge of the meetings said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) was not among the participants. ”While he does believe the FBI and DOJ have recently made decisions worth looking into, he is and will always be a defender of the FBI, DOJ and the special counsel," the aide said. DOJ and FBI officials also declined to comment. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defended the FBI and Mueller's team at a recent hearing on Capitol Hill. "The special counsel investigation is not a witch hunt," he said.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said he wasn't aware of the Nunes effort but said it fit with what he sees as an increasingly destructive bent in Republicans’ rhetoric and actions.
The Nunes-led group is the latest evidence of an increasingly toxic and bruising confrontation between Republicans on Capitol Hill and the highest ranks of the justice system. Some Hill Republicans are irate about the Justice Department's refusal to provide more details about its investigation of Trump associates' ties to Russia. To Democrats, the GOP offensive is an attempt to distract from the investigation of Trump associates by Mueller, who has already indicted Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and secured a guilty plea from his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. There are indications he's investigating whether Trump obstructed justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey, whose exit led to Mueller taking over the Russia probe.
The more dangerous Mueller's probe has seemed to become to the White House, the louder the attacks have gotten from Trump allies on Capitol Hill, Democrats say.
“Republicans are terrified that Special Counsel Mueller is getting closer to the truth, and they are desperate to grind his investigation to a halt — even if they undermine the foundations of our democracy," Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in a statement after Republicans requested the FBI interviews.
Schiff said committee rules require consultation between Republicans and Democrats, but House Speaker Paul Ryan must enforce bipartisan cooperation if he wants it to occur. "And at this point, you have to conclude that he doesn’t," Schiff said. Ryan’s office declined to comment.
One of the ways that Hitler and the Nazis increased their power in the early 1930's was to attack the integrity of those who opposed them in government agencies or sought to expose the truth about Nazi activities and lies. Be very, very afraid if Trump/the GOP manage to silence those seeking evidence and the truth.