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Devin Nunes Trump Minion Page 4

Devin Nunes has and continues to violate his oath of office to protect Donald J. Trump.  

Devin Nunes used all his time in the impeachment hearing to try to out the Ukraine whistleblower
By Grace Panetta

In Tuesday morning's public hearing in the impeachment inquiry, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, spent his questioning time trying to get the witnesses to reveal the identity of the whistleblower who filed a complaint about President Donald Trump. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official, testified alongside Jennifer Williams, a State Department official in Vice President Mike Pence's office.

In early September, an anonymous whistleblower complaint lodged by a member of the intelligence community said that in a series of events culminating in a July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump used "the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election." The complaint detailed concerns that Trump, days after withholding a nearly $400 million military-aid package, used the call with Zelensky to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Vindman and Williams, who both listened in on the July 25 call, testified that they believed it was highly unusual and improper for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent. Full Story

Devin Nunes and The Benghazi Boys Are Back—But Now They See No Evil
The same people who drove the hoax that used foreign policy as an instrument to punish a domestic political opponent are now running Trump’s impeachment defense.
By Joel Rubin
      
House Republicans have a history of twisting facts to create a circus during congressional hearings; it’s a feature, not a bug for them. But in a taste of sweet irony, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch subtly flipped the script during the impeachment hearings Friday, using her opening statement to name her colleagues who were killed in Benghazi and subsequently used as political props to attack the Obama administration’s State Department. Speaking of the department, she said: “We are Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Patrick Smith, Ty Woods, and Glen Doherty—people rightly called heroes for their ultimate sacrifice to this nation's foreign policy interests in Libya, eight years ago. We honor these individuals. They represent each one of you here—and every American. These courageous individuals were attacked because they symbolized America.”

The Benghazi hearings were a new low for House Republicans, who turned a national tragedy into a political circus focused on bringing down a Democratic presidential candidate. Those hearings were never about what happened in Libya, and how to prevent future tragedies—as Kevin McCarthy publicly bragged at the time. They were about smearing Hillary Clinton so that she would lose in 2016. And it worked.

That why House Republicans and Donald Trump are trying to do the same thing to Joe Biden in 2020. The same people who drove the Benghazi hoax are now running Trump’s impeachment defense: Mike Pompeo, Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, Devin Nunes, Lindsey Graham, and Mick Mulvaney. Only now, instead of backbenchers, they’re party stars in large part because of their political success with the Benghazi hearings. The lesson they learned is that politicizing American foreign policy at the expense of the country’s national security in order to win an election is a time-tested strategy. At the core of this shameless abuse of our national security is the mistreatment of an American ambassador.

In the case of Chris Stevens, with whom I worked and who was beloved by the career State Department personnel, it was these Republicans who convened nine congressional investigations for multiple years to uncover zero scandal about his and three other Americans’ horrendous murder, except for mundane, unfortunate, and fixable bureaucratic mismanagement. Unsatisfied, they then formed the Benghazi Select Committee to find the scandal that they wanted but that didn’t exist.

And when they created the Select Committee, dozens of State Department witnesses were called to testify. All of them came, never compelled to do so by subpoena or in defiance of a White House order to not appear. I should know, as I was one of them. Not once did anyone even remotely suggest that I not comply. In the Obama Administration, we understood that Congress had a critical constitutional role to play in the functioning of our democratic government, no matter what it’s motivations. We just didn’t understand how deeply corrupted House Republican’s intentions were.

Their willingness to smear State Department personnel had no boundaries. Which leads us to impeachment today, and the hypocritical mistreatment of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. She has been smeared by the president’s allies and the president himself, and left unprotected by the current Secretary of State–the same Mike Pompeo who, when in Congress, had eviscerated the Obama State Department for not preventing Ambassador Stevens’ killing. Pompeo’s actions back then, as now, make it clear that he prioritized politics over national security. Full Story

Testimony: Nunes acolyte misrepresented himself to Trump as Ukraine expert
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman also testified on Tuesday that the National Security Council staffer, Kash Patel, fed the president disinformation about Ukraine.
By NATASHA BERTRAND
         
The decorated Army officer who testified to House investigators on Tuesday told lawmakers that a close associate of Republican Rep. Devin Nunes “misrepresented” himself to President Donald Trump in an effort to involve himself further in Ukraine policy, according to two people familiar with his closed-door deposition. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, told lawmakers that after attending Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration in May as part of a delegation led by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Vindman had been looking forward to debriefing Trump and giving a positive account of Zelensky’s vision for Ukraine’s future. “The U.S. government policy community’s view is that the election of Zelenskyy and the promise of reforms to eliminate corruption will lock in Ukraine’s Western-leaning trajectory, and allow Ukraine to realize its dream of a vibrant democracy and economic prosperity,” Vindman said in his opening statement. But he was instructed “at the last second” not to attend the debriefing, Vindman told lawmakers, because Trump’s advisers worried it might confuse the president: Trump believed at the time that Kashyap Patel, a longtime Nunes staffer who joined the White House in February and had no discernible Ukraine experience or expertise, was actually the NSC’s top Ukraine expert instead of Vindman. Vindman testified that he was told this directly by his boss at the time, NSC senior director for European and Russian affairs Fiona Hill. Hill told Vindman that she and national security adviser John Bolton thought it best to exclude Vindman from the debriefing to avoid “an uncomfortable situation,” he said. POLITICO previously reported that Hill testified that Trump thought Patel was in charge of Ukraine policy for the NSC, but Vindman’s exclusion from a key Ukraine meeting because of concerns over a potential conflict with Trump has not been disclosed before. It helps explain why the president tweeted on Tuesday that he’d never met Vindman despite his clear interest in Ukraine — senior officials have said that Trump directed them to consult with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on matters of Ukraine policy. more...

Former Trump aide who now works for Devin Nunes reportedly leaked Ukraine whistleblower’s name
Derek Harvey, a former Trump adviser who now works for Nunes, outed the whistleblower who reported Trump's call
By Igor Derysh
    
A top aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., leaked documents identifying the Ukraine whistleblower’s name in an attempt to out him, The Daily Beast has reported. Derek Harvey, a former adviser to President Trump who now works for Nunes on the House Intelligence Committee, handed notes to House Republicans identifying the whistleblower’s name ahead of closed-door depositions in the Trump impeachment inquiry in hopes of getting the name in the record of the proceedings, which Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff vowed to release, sources told The Daily Beast. The allegation follows a Saturday Washington Post report that Republican lawmakers and aides have “repeatedly” used the whistleblower’s purported name during the secret depositions. The Post reported that Harvey was “passing notes the entire time” one former Trump official was being questioned, suggesting that he was feeding Republicans questions. Mark Zaid, an attorney for the whistleblower, warned that exposing his client’s identity would put him and his family at risk. “Exposing the identity of the whistleblower and attacking our client would do nothing to undercut the validity of the complaint’s allegations,” Zaid told The Daily Beast. “What it would do, however, is put that individual and their family at risk of harm. Perhaps more important, it would deter future whistleblowers from coming forward in subsequent administrations, Democratic or Republican.” Far-right news outlets like OANN and the Gateway Pundit have identified an official they claim to be the whistleblower. The whistleblower’s account has long since been corroborated by witnesses from Trump’s administration. more...

Nunes Aide Is Leaking the Ukraine Whistleblower’s Name, Sources Say
Derek Harvey, a former intelligence analyst, has also been spreading disinformation about an aide to Adam Schiff.
The Daily Beast
By Spencer Ackerman, Sam Brodey, Adam Rawnsley
        
A top aide to Rep. Devin Nunes has been providing conservative politicians and journalists with information—and misinformation—about the anonymous whistleblower who triggered the biggest crisis of Donald Trump’s presidency, two knowledgeable sources tell The Daily Beast. Derek Harvey, who works for Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, has provided notes for House Republicans identifying the whistleblower’s name ahead of the high-profile depositions of Trump administration appointees and civil servants in the impeachment inquiry. The purpose of the notes, one source said, is to get the whistleblower’s name into the record of the proceedings, which committee chairman Adam Schiff has pledged to eventually release. In other words: it’s an attempt to out the anonymous official who helped trigger the impeachment inquiry. On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that GOP lawmakers and staffers have “repeatedly” used a name purporting to be the whistleblower during the depositions. The paper named Harvey as driving lines of questioning Democrats saw as attempting to determine the political loyalties of witnesses before the inquiry. A former official told the Post that Harvey “was passing notes [to GOP lawmakers] the entire time” ex-NSC Russia staffer Fiona Hill testified. “Exposing the identity of the whistleblower and attacking our client would do nothing to undercut the validity of the complaint’s allegations,” said Mark Zaid, one of the whistleblower’s attorneys. “What it would do, however, is put that individual and their family at risk of harm. Perhaps more important, it would deter future whistleblowers from coming forward in subsequent administrations, Democratic or Republican.” Zaid has represented The Daily Beast in freedom-of-information lawsuits against the federal government. The whistleblower is not Harvey’s only target. Another is a staffer for the House intelligence committee Democrats whom The Daily Beast has agreed not to name due to concerns about reprisals against the staffer. Harvey, both sources said, has spread a false story alleging that the whistleblower contacted the staffer ahead of raising internal alarm about President Trump’s July 25th phone call attempting to get a “favor” from Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky to damage Trump’s rival Joe Biden. In right-wing circles, contact with Schiff is meant to discredit the whistleblower as partisan. The eagerness of Republicans to go after the intelligence committee staffer so alarmed Democrats that they raised the issue with GOP leadership, according to a senior official on the intelligence committee. “We are aware of these unsupported and false attacks on a respected member of our staff,” the official told The Daily Beast. “It is completely inappropriate, and we have previously urged the Republican leadership to address this situation.” Full Story

Nunes protégé fed Ukraine info to Trump
Kashyap Patel, a senior National Security Council staffer with no official role on Ukraine policy, had a direct pipeline to the president.
By NATASHA BERTRAND
          
A protégé of Republican Rep. Devin Nunes was among those passing negative information about Ukraine to President Donald Trump earlier this year, fueling the president’s belief that Ukraine was brimming with corruption and interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Democrats. Kashyap Patel, a longtime Nunes staffer who joined the White House in February, was so involved in the issue that at one point Trump thought he was in charge of Ukraine policy for the National Security Council, according to congressional testimony by Fiona Hill, the former senior director for European and Russian Affairs whose portfolio included Ukraine. Hill’s testimony was described to POLITICO by a person with direct knowledge of her recent deposition, and who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the closed-door hearing. Hill declined to comment. Several White House officials raised alarms internally about Trump undermining the U.S.’ official policy of support for Ukraine in exchange for political favors, with former national security adviser John Bolton instructing Hill to inform White House lawyers about backchannel efforts he compared to a “drug deal.” The official who replaced Hill in early September, Tim Morrison, formally held the Ukraine portfolio at the NSC. Testimony before House lawmakers has depicted Morrison, a Bolton acolyte, as similarly unnerved by Trump’s desire to withhold all assistance from Ukraine. Morrison also kept the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, abreast of developments inside the White House. But Patel’s involvement demonstrates that the president had at least some support for the scheme from within the NSC, and has given House impeachment investigators yet another name to add to their witness list—a name they are already familiar with, given Patel’s previous work in Congress to discredit the Russia investigation. Full Story

Devin Nunes: A Running Timeline of His Surveillance Claims and White House Ties
 
If you'd heard of representative Devin Nunes before this week, you're either from his California district or you pay closer than average attention to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which he leads. In that capacity, Nunes also heads up the House investigation into Russian's interference in last year's presidential election, as well as any ties between Russia and Trump or his colleagues. But last week, Nunes grabbed far more headlines than usual. Wednesday, he held an extraordinary, impromptu news conference. President Trump and his associates, Nunes declared, had been caught up in surveillance by US intelligence agencies. Nunes then rushed to the White House to share the information in person. It was a remarkable breach of protocol—one that, like some sort of inverse Magic Eye poster, becomes more confusing the longer you look at it. Further complicating matters is the fact that Nunes was an adviser to Trump's transition team. Full Story

Nunes apologizes for going directly to White House with monitoring claims
Nancy Pelosi calls the Intelligence Committee chairman a 'stooge for the president of the United States.'
By AUSTIN WRIGHT and NOLAN D. MCCASKILL
   
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes apologized to members of his panel Thursday for not informing Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat, before going public with allegations that Trump transition messages were inadvertently intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies. A committee aide said Nunes (R-Calif.) apologized "for not sharing information about the documents he saw with the minority before going public” and that “he pledged to work with them on this issue.” The apology from Nunes came as congressional Democrats on Thursday slammed him for his perceived allegiance to the Trump administration, questioning whether he is fit to lead to an impartial investigation into possible ties between Trump’s associates and Russian officials.

Schiff (D-Calif.) told NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Thursday that committee members still haven’t been privy to the information Nunes shared with the White House. Nunes has said he is not in possession of the information yet and that he hopes it will be delivered to his committee on Friday. “At this point, the only people who do know are the chairman and the president. And given that the president’s associates are the subject in part of the investigation, that’s wholly inappropriate, and, unfortunately, I think it really impugns the credibility of the chairman in terms of his ability to conduct an independent investigation,” Schiff said.

During an earlier, brief exchange with reporters Thursday morning, Nunes was asked whether the information he alluded to Wednesday came from the White House. Nunes stressed that “we have to keep our sources and methods here very, very quiet” and defended his “judgment call” to brief the president while other committee members were left in the dark, despite Trump and his associates being part of the focus of multiple investigations. Full Story

Nunes Had Secret White House Meeting Before Trump Monitoring Claim
By Ken Dilanian, Alex Moe and Ali Vitali
   
The day before he announced to reporters that Donald Trump may have been incidentally monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies during the transition, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes met with the source of that information at the White House, a Nunes spokesman told NBC News. "Chairman Nunes met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source," said his spokesman, Jack Langer.

"The Chairman is extremely concerned by the possible improper unmasking of names of U.S. citizens, and he began looking into this issue even before President Trump tweeted his assertion that Trump Tower had been wiretapped." White House spokesman Sean Spicer refused to comment when asked why Nunes was on White House grounds, saying he only knew what Nunes had done based on public statements made to various media outlets. Former White House official Ned Price told NBC News that Nunes would have had to have been signed into the White House facility. It woulld be easy, Price said, for any White House official to determine who signed Nunes in. Another former National Security official told NBC News Monday that intelligence reports containing communications intercepts would not be accessible from the House Intelligence computer system.

The official said that Nunes would have had to go to the White House – or the headquarters of the CIA, NSA or another location to view that sort of intelligence. Nunes has declined to say who provided the intelligence reports he referenced, but his admission that he met with his source at the White House is fueling suspicions among Democrats that his source was someone close to Trump. "Through his bizarre and partisan actions over the last week, Chairman Nunes has demonstrated to the entire nation why he is unfit to lead our critical investigation into ties between President Trump’s Administration and Moscow," Rep. Jackie Speier said in a statement.

Nunes told Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake that his source was an intelligence official and not a White House staffer. It’s unclear why Nunes would have to go to the White House to seek a secure location to view classified material, since his own committee has a secure room in the Capitol where Nunes and his aides review secret documents on a daily basis. Democrats believe the president wanted to release the information as a way of buttressing Trump’s discredited claim that President Obama "wiretapped" him at Trump Tower during the transition. Moments after Nunes first made the announcement, Trump said he felt "somewhat" vindicated. Full Story

How Devin Nunes Turned the House Intelligence Committee Inside Out
In inquiries on Benghazi and Russia and beyond, the California congressman has displayed a deep mistrust of the expert consensus on reality — a disposition that has helped him make friends in the current White House.
By Jason Zengerle
  
In Late August 2016, Donald Trump paid a visit to Tulare, Calif., a small city in the agricultural Central Valley and an unlikely stop for a Republican presidential campaign. California is a solidly blue state, and although Trump was in Tulare to speak at a fund-raiser, the $2,700 that most guests ponied up to attend hardly seemed substantial enough to justify the presence of a busy candidate. (At a fund-raiser Trump attended in Silicon Valley the day before, guests paid $25,000 a head.) At least one senior Trump campaign official argued against the trip, deeming it a colossal waste of time.

But Trump had one very good reason for visiting Tulare: It is the hometown of Representative Devin Nunes. While many Republican elected officials had maintained a wary distance from their party’s presidential nominee, Nunes, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was one of the few, not to mention one of the most prominent, to offer Trump his unequivocal support — which included holding the fund-raiser. Better still, Trump liked Nunes. Although the 44-year-old congressman seems to wear a permanent grimace in public, as if trying to lend his boyish face some gravitas, in private he is a bit of a bon vivant. “He’s a pretty easy guy to like,” says Johnny Amaral, Nunes’s longtime political consigliere and friend. “And he’s fiercely loyal. I think Trump recognized that.”

The day before the Tulare event, Nunes drove up to the Bay Area to meet Trump and brief him on his district. Nunes expected to drive back to Tulare that evening, but Trump invited Nunes to fly with him to Los Angeles instead and then on to Tulare the next morning. It is unclear just what they discussed over those 24 hours, but by all accounts they seem to have strengthened their bond, and Nunes soon entered Trump’s inner circle — cementing a political alliance that would become one of the most consequential of the Trump era. In the beginning, it was Nunes who influenced Trump. During the campaign, he tutored the candidate on water policy — a crucial issue to California agribusiness interests — and Trump heeded his warnings about the perfidy of environmentalists and government bureaucrats who were creating a “man-made drought.” At the Tulare fund-raiser, Trump promised the crowd that he would get their water back for them.

Once Trump was elected, he appointed Nunes to the executive committee of his transition team, where Nunes helped shape the nascent Trump administration’s foreign policy. “He just took a very proactive role,” one Trump transition official recalls. “He was very aggressive and assertive about things and people we had to have.” According to the Trump transition official, Nunes was among the strongest advocates for Mike Pompeo, a colleague of his on the Intelligence Committee, to become the C.I.A. director and for James Mattis to become the secretary of defense. He also recommended a number of staff members, including his Intelligence Committee aide Derek Harvey, for positions on the National Security Council. “If we didn’t have Nunes,” the transition official says, “we wouldn’t have had anything stood up. He took the lead and was very important.” Full Story

Devin Nunes's Fake Oversight
The House Intelligence Committee chairman’s actions are toxic to the democratic process and dangerous to American national security.
By Amy Zegart
   
Watching the Senate Intelligence Committee’s world-threat hearing last week, it felt like the adults were finally back in town. Republicans and Democrats sat next to each other and spoke politely, in front of the cameras. They agreed that intelligence agencies are vital to America’s national security, not some deep state cabal bent on destroying the Trump administration. Nobody used the word “hoax” or “shithole.”

Senators from both parties asked sensible questions about serious threats—including North Korea’s nuclear weapons, China’s espionage activities, and Russia’s past, present, and future efforts to meddle in elections and undermine democracies around the world. Oh sure, there were screwball moments. This is Congress, after all. Senator Tom Cotton asked some “show of hands” questions to see if anyone would recommend that Americans use Chinese telecom products or services.

Those hoping for serious progress were also disappointed. Six intelligence agency leaders in the line of fire—including the directors of National Intelligence, FBI, CIA, and NSA—all expertly parsed, praised, and parried. Congressional hearings are always delicate dances. Witnesses have to satisfy their legislative overseers without alienating their executive-branch bosses or hurting their home agencies. But still. It was a moment of adult supervision where questions were asked, answers were given, and facts were facts. These days, that’s a big deal.

Over on the House side of Capitol Hill, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has managed to bring oversight to a dangerous new low. Weak oversight is bad, and we have lived with it for a long time. But Nunes is creating something much different and much worse: fake oversight. For months now, Nunes—who served on the Trump transition team—has been behaving like a teenager who so desperately wants to be liked by the cool kid in the Oval Office, he’ll do anything and break everything.

First there was his bizarre “midnight run” to the White House where he purportedly viewed classified documents, refused to share them with his own committee, and then held a solo press conference on the White House lawn to insinuate that the Obama administration may have improperly spied on the Trump transition team. “What I’ve read seems to me to be some level of surveillance activity—perhaps legal, but I don’t know that it’s right,” Nunes told reporters. Nunes was temporarily forced to step down from his own committee’s Russia investigation after the House ethics committee launched an inquiry into whether he had revealed classified information. No proof of improper eavesdropping ever surfaced. Full Story

Who is Devin Nunes and why is he sowing confusion in the Russia inquiry?
The congressman at center of the FBI memo storm has rushed forward to bolster Trump’s criticism of the FBI and justice department
By  Alan Yuhas
   
One night in Washington last March, Devin Nunes received a call to head to the White House to see secret intelligence reports. Over the next week, he briefed the president, failed to keep his clandestine meeting a secret, spoke expansively – if confusingly – about classified information, and earned the ire and mockery of his colleagues in Congress. Now Nunes is back. Confusion has followed. One year after his spirited and lonely defense of Donald Trump’s claim that he was put under surveillance by the Obama administration, tweeted without evidence, the Republican lawmaker has rushed forward on his own to bolster the president’s criticisms of the FBI and justice department.

He appears unchastened by a fellow Republican who said Nunes was running his own “Inspector Clouseau investigation”, undeterred by a brush with an ethics investigation, and unbothered by the many pronunciations of his Portuguese surname. FBI has 'grave concerns' about Trump plan to release controversial memo. But on Thursday, his actions had so angered Democrats that the party’s leaders in the Senate and the House both called for his removal from the House intelligence committee. Although the panel is charged with investigating Russian interference, it has split in recent months along partisan lines, with Republicans turning their scrutiny on the original FBI investigation into Russian meddling, which began in 2016. Nunes’s office has produced a controversial memo that reportedly suggests that the FBI acquired a wiretap on a Trump associate without telling a judge enough about their sources.

The memo links the FBI investigation back to a former British spy, Christopher Steele, whose research was paid for by Democrats, and who wrote a dossier on Trump that contains a series of controversial, though unverified, claims. Republicans on the committee have also fixated on texts criticizing Trump by an FBI agent, Peter Strzok, who was temporarily in charge of the separate investigations into Hillary Clinton and Trump. Strzok also pushed for reopening an investigation into Clinton before the 2016 election, and was removed from the Trump investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. The FBI has urged against the memo’s release, suggesting its contents were misleading, in a rare unsigned statement: “We have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.” The texts were revealed in the course of an internal justice department review into how the FBI handled an investigation of Clinton’s private email servers.

Both the memo and the texts dovetail with allegations of FBI bias propagated on rightwing media, such as Fox News, which the president watches frequently. Hosts such as Sean Hannity, who is close to Trump, have used them as a stick to batter the integrity of the FBI investigation into Russian meddling and potential obstruction of justice by the Trump White House. Nunes, who has provided much of this fodder, was one of Trump’s first supporters in Congress and an adviser to his transition team after the election. Despite his stated outrage about a wiretap on one of Trump’s former campaign advisers, he has strongly supported government surveillance powers since he was elected in 2002 to Congress, aged 29, by a rural district of central California. He began his career in public service there six years earlier, as a board member of a community college. Full Story

The Smoking Gun in the Devin Nunes Fiasco, Revealed
New evidence suggests that Nunes was running interference for the White House.
By Tina Nguyen
   
The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election has reportedly ground to a halt amid growing evidence that its Republican chairman, Devin Nunes, has been coordinating with the White House to protect the president from further embarrassment. Nunes first raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill when he broke protocol by holding a press conference to announce that he had learned from a source that Donald Trump and his associates may have been “incidentally” surveilled by the F.B.I. as part of the agency’s intelligence gathering on foreign targets.

The news left Trump feeling vindicated, after F.B.I. director James Comey and National Security Agency chief Mike Rogers shot down the president’s repeated claims that he had been “wiretapped” by the previous administration. But it also left Democrats steaming: not only did Nunes run to the press rather than bring his evidence to the committee, he also briefed Trump about what he had learned—thereby communicating with a potential target of his own investigation. Later, it emerged that Nunes had met his “source” on the White House grounds, raising further suspicions that he was coordinating with the Trump administration.

Democrats were already calling on Nunes to recuse himself when The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the California congressman had canceled a hearing set to include testimony from former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates under unusual circumstances. According to the Post, the White House had previously attempted to block Yates from testifying, given that she was expected to provide testimony that would contradict the White House about the circumstances surrounding the resignation of former national security adviser Mike Flynn. When it emerged that Yates planned to testify anyway, Nunes shut down the hearing. Full Story

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