How Trump and Devin Nunes Misused Intelligence Agencies to Bolster Fake Wiretapping
Everything is so accelerated with Trump. We’re already at the obstruction of justice part. Like when Nixon had the CIA limit the FBI investigation of the DNC break in.
Devin Nunes lost his spot leading the intelligence committee on Russia. That may be the last of his losses:
“Recently, several members and staffers on the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s role in the Presidential election, visited the National Security Agency, in Fort Meade, Maryland. Inside the enormous black glass headquarters of America’s largest spy agency, the congressmen and their aides were shown a binder of two to three dozen pages of highly classified intercepts, mostly transcripts of conversations between foreign government officials that took place during the Presidential transition. These intercepts were not related to the heart of the committee’s Russia investigation. In fact, only one of the documents had anything to do with Russia, according to an official who reviewed them.”
“What the intercepts all had in common is that the people being spied on made references to Donald Trump or to Trump officials. That wasn’t even clear, though, from reading the transcripts. The names of any Americans were concealed, or “masked,” the intelligence community’s term for redacting references to Americans who are not the legal targets of surveillance when such intelligence reports are distributed to policy makers.”
“It is now clear that the scandal was not Rice’s normal review of the intelligence reports but the coördinated effort between the Trump Administration and Nunes to sift through classified information and computer logs that recorded Rice’s unmasking requests, and then leak a highly misleading characterization of those documents, all in an apparent effort to turn Rice, a longtime target of Republicans, into the face of alleged spying against Trump. It was a series of lies to manufacture a fake scandal. Last week, CNN was the first to report that both Democrats and Republicans who reviewed the Nunes material at the N.S.A. said that the documents provided “no evidence that Obama Administration officials did anything unusual or illegal.”
“I spoke to two intelligence sources, one who read the entire binder of intercepts and one who was briefed on their contents. “There’s absolutely nothing there,” one source said. The Trump names remain masked in the documents, and Rice would not have been able to know in all cases that she was asking the N.S.A. to unmask the names of Trump officials.”
So Trump officials were using intel for his own political agenda. We’re already at the obstruction of justice part.
The Ethics Committee investigation into Nunes is the least of the problem:
“Nunes is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee because, in talking about the documents, he may have leaked classified information. But this is like getting Al Capone for tax evasion. The bigger scandal is the coördinated effort to use the American intelligence services to manufacture an excuse for Trump’s original tweet.”
“The GOP is nevertheless using these fake revelations as a way to divert the Russia investigation.”
Even though there is now some bipartisan agreement that Nunes’s description of the intercepts was wildly inaccurate, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are still preparing to focus on Obama’s national-security team, rather than on Vladimir Putin’s. Last week, Democrats and Republicans finalized their witness lists, and the names tell a tale of two separate investigations. The intelligence source said, “The Democratic list involves all of the characters that you would think it would: Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Carter Page,” speaking of the three Trump campaign officials who have been most closely tied to the Russia investigation. “The Republican list is almost entirely people from the Obama Administration.”
“The fake scandal created by Trump and Nunes is not over yet. The first name on the Republican list is Susan Rice.”
The Plum Line commenting on this New Yorker piece:
“It’s reassuring that a bipartisan group of House members has acknowledged they reviewed the NSA materials and concluded that Rice had done nothing wrong. But it now looks as if the House Intelligence Committee will try to embroil Rice in the Russia hearings, anyway. If so, it will show just how far the Committee’s Republicans are willing to go to prop up Trump’s lies — and to distract from efforts to get to the bottom of Russian meddling, as well as any possible Trump campaign collusion with it.”
“Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said today that the Committee’s investigation of Russian election interference and possible Trump campaign collusion with it is “back on track” after its controversial chairman, California Republican Devin Nunes, recused himself from the probe. Schiff’s remarks are a hopeful sign that the Committee will finally be able to constructively take on its oversight role.”
“But there are now new reasons to worry that, if anything, Republicans are even more determined to make sure it doesn’t turn up anything at all. That’s troubling, because Republicans may be successful at subverting the possibility of getting to the bottom of the scandal — which they are now clearly trying to do, by creating a distraction aimed at diverting public attention away from story and instead towards conspiracy theories involving the Obama administration.”
The only way to get a real investigation is to elect a Democratic House. I’m hoping to be a first time NY 2 Congressman myself.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.