PoliZette

Watchdog: Nunes Should Retake House Russia Investigation

Committee Democrats laying groundwork to complain over final report, GOP unlikely to cave

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) should say enough is enough, and retake the House investigation into Russian hacking that may have affected the 2016 presidential election.

So says Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, speaking to LifeZette on Wednesday.

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Fitton said Democratic House members have abused their positions on the House Ethics Committee, whose decision to investigate Nunes led to the California Republican’s recusing himself from the Russia investigation conducted by the House Intelligence Committee. Nunes stayed on as chairman of the committee but handed the investigation to Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas).

Nunes was targeted because he gave two press conferences on March 22 in which he said intelligence agencies had “incidentally” collected information on President Donald Trump and his associates during the presidential transition. Nunes also claimed that U.S. citizens associated with Trump had been “unmasked” in spy reports, something that is not usually done, as they are supposed to be protected as federal agencies spy on foreign subjects.

For Trump, the disclosure vindicated him for claiming that such spying was going on. To Democrats and liberal pundits, Nunes had committed  a huge violation: He swerved away from the Russia narrative.

The Democrats helped create a media firestorm, and their allies filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee, claiming Nunes publicly admitted the existence of classified material — something he is not supposed to do.

But Nunes was not the only subject of an ethical complaint. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking House member on the Intelligence Committee, was also tagged by an ethical complaint for discussing sensitive issues in public.

Judicial Watch complained to the Office of Congressional Ethics on April 14 that claimed Schiff and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) openly discussed facts surrounding an investigation into Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser. The House Ethics Committee has not moved on the complaint in more than four months.

Defenders of Nunes note that the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into Nunes within days. But despite the quick announcement about Nunes, the House Ethics Committee has not resolved the matter.

Fitton said he believes the Democrats are slow-walking the investigation to keep a cloud over Nunes. Nunes should therefore ignore what the Ethics Committee is doing, he recommended, and retake the investigation.

His remarks to LifeZette come as Schiff called for a unified final report on Russian hacking from the House Intel Committee.

But he is not likely to get one from the House of Representatives. The reason is that Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, wants an over-the-top, incendiary report tying President Donald Trump directly or indirectly to Russian efforts to sway the election against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The House Republicans are not likely to give it to him, according to interviews conducted by LifeZette on the issue. The reason: The Holy Grail of what the Democrats seek — collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — is simply not there.

Therefore, as has been the case in the past, the House committee is likely to issue two reports: a majority report and a minority report.

(photo credit, homepage and article images: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)

meet the author

Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.