In an absurd tweet on Wednesday, Lawfare’s executive director suggested that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) should be replaced as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee:
This is a hugely significant story. DOJ and the IC do not trust the HPSCI chair to protect sources and methods that directly risk human lives. Nunes simply cannot continue to serve in the role and Speaker Ryan is wrong to not remove him and appoint a suitable choice like Conaway. https://t.co/VdEsU96tB2— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) May 9, 2018
That wasn’t even the most moronic tweet in Susan Hennessey’s arsenal. She went on to warn how “the intelligence oversight system is based on trust. Without trust it is irretrievably broken. The [Intelligence Community] and [Department of Justice] don’t trust Nunes and he cannot perform his job functions.” Get that? The Intelligence Community and the Justice department—which have proven to be as political and devious as a Chicago ward boss—are the white hats and Nunes is the black hat.
That is not ignorance on Hennessey’s part: it’s calculated deception.
Fortunately, it’s unlikely that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will heed an unreasonable demand from a political partisan tied to the left-leaning Brookings Institution.
But it does unveil the latest tactic of the Left (and some on the Right) to discredit and ultimately oust Nunes, the only Republican on Capitol Hill who appears to have his act together when it comes to exposing the players behind the Trump-Russia election collusion scheme.
The Deep State Mob is continuing to squeeze the California congressman after he again threatened to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for ignoring congressional subpoenas and withholding crucial documents from Congressional investigators. Nunes has minced no words about how the Justice Department and FBI have been “stonewalling” his committee’s investigation for months. And as Nunes inches closer to revealing the stinking core of what is potentially the biggest political corruption scandal in U.S. history, the Deep State Mob is trying to close in on him first.
Nunes and other House Republicans want to find out exactly how and why the FBI’s counterintelligence operation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government began in the summer of 2016, and what intelligence sources either aided or instigated that probe. The latest showdown, according to the Washington Post, is because Nunes has issued a subpoena demanding that the Justice Department provide information about an unnamed individual referenced in a classified letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month.
While there are few details about the individual in question, the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel intimates that the person could have been a mole inside the Trump campaign:
We know Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. We might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.
Strassel, who has been carefully covering this scandal, has a hunch of who the source is but couldn’t confirm it.
The Justice Department is fighting Nunes’s request on the basis that any disclosure would “risk severe consequences, including potential loss of human lives, damage to relationship with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations and interference with intelligence activities.” While Justice officials met with Nunes and committee member Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) late Thursday, they did not allow them to see the information in question. Nunes indicated that he would continue to press the department to fulfill his request.
Now Nunes’s foes are portraying him as a rogue actor - perhaps even a traitor - who is willing to see intelligence assets killed in order to carry water for President Trump. CNN national security analyst Asha Rangappa echoed the Justice Department’s warning that Nunes is risking lives to achieve political ends.
I explained today to @wolfblitzer why @DevinNunes's continued attempts to get access to classified information that could literally get a U.S. source killed impacts not just the Russia investigation, but the FBI and CIA's recruitment efforts everywhere (cc:@alexzfinley) pic.twitter.com/Rg55YYDi6f— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) May 10, 2018
In a one-two punch, Hennessey’s boss upped the attacks on Nunes during a discussion with former FBI Director James Comey on Friday. Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare’s editor and close Comey pal, rhetorically asked Comey, “what’s Devin Nunes gonna be able to tell his grandchildren? It’s a serious question. He is affirmatively acting in a fashion that some of us judged, you know, Edward Snowden very harshly for behaving in a fashion that puts at risk intelligence sources and methods when being told so by the senior levels of the Justice Department.” (Others have tried to get the “Nunes-Is-Literal-Snowden” trope going before. We’ll see if it finally takes off next week.)
Comey, the consigliere of the Deep State Mob, anguished to his buddy about the lost values of the Republican Party: “This is my hope for the Republicans as a whole, that they realize that only a fool would trade the institutions and the values that actually unite us for the policy gains they think they’re getting from a president who is eroding and attacking those values.” Sounds like some sour grapes from the guy who lost his battle against Nunes to keep his memos secret.
Fellow fired prosecutor Preet Bharara joined Comey in mocking Nunes this week. After a bogus storysurfaced that Nunes doesn’t read the intelligence information he receives, the former head of the DOJ’s Southern District of New York (yes, the same office assigned with investigating Trump lawyer Michael Cohen) tweeted this:
When @DevinNunes is a private citizen next year maybe he'll work as a film critic who doesn't bother to watch the movies he pans— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) May 7, 2018
But it’s not just the Deep State Mob on the Left that is after Nunes: Their soulmates in the smoldering political ash heap that is the neoconservative movement are speaking out, too. In an egregiously flawed assist in Commentary, Noah Rothman gives aid and comfort to the Deep State Mob, incredibly by making Nunes the bad guy. Rothman accuses Nunes of causing the trust breakdown in the House Intelligence committee, the same committee whose ranking member is the despicable leaker Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Rothman smugly claims that “there is no impartial assessment of his tenure as House Intelligence Committee chair in which he comes off as a competent steward of American national security or capable of the dispassionate oversight of the institutions that safeguard U.S. interests at home and abroad.”
Rothman suggests that even Trump doesn’t trust Nunes and that’s why the president (for now) has acquiesced to the Justice Department’s stonewalling on the source subpoena. He wrongly claims that Nunes recused himself from the investigation early on, then calls Nunes an “obstacle in the way of truth” who should be removed.
Any close observer of the unfolding story of how the disaster of the Obama Justice Department exploited our most trusted federal agencies to hatch the Trump-Russia scheme is either on the floor laughing or smashing things at Rothman’s absurd accusation.
The Deep State Mob wants to destroy anything and anyone associated with Trump, particularly those who are brave enough to incur their wrath to get to the truth on behalf of the American people. Nunes isn’t a traitor: He’s a hero.