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Excerpt: "The House intel committee GOP leader refused to answer behind closed doors if he coordinated with the president's team on his report blasting Rosenstein, Comey, and McCabe."

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes. (photo: Getty Images )
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes. (photo: Getty Images )

Devin Nunes Won't Say If He Worked With White House on Anti-FBI Memo

By Betsy Woodruff and Spencer Ackerman, The Daily Beast

31 January 18

The House intel committee GOP leader refused to answer behind closed doors if he coordinated with the president’s team on his report blasting Rosenstein, Comey, and McCabe.

he Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee refused to answer when a colleague asked him if he had coordinated his incendiary surveillance memo with the White House, The Daily Beast has learned.

During Monday’s contentious closed-door committee meeting, Rep. Mike Quigley, a Democrat, asked Nunes point-blank if his staffers had been talking with the White House as they compiled a four-page memo alleging FBI and Justice Department abuses over surveillance of President Trump’s allies in the Russia probe.

According to sources familiar with the exchange, Nunes made a few comments that didn’t answer the question before finally responding, “I’m not answering.”

Spokespeople for Nunes and for the White House did not immediately respond.

Now that the committee Republicans voted to release the memo, it has been reportedly delivered to the White House. Under congressional rules, Trump has four more days to decide if he will assent to the memo’s public release.

Quigley’s question harkened back to Nunes’ history of surreptitiously working with the White House to deflect from the myriad inquiries into possible coordination between Trump’s associates and the Kremlin.

In March, a day after then-FBI Director James Comey confirmed the bureau was investigating that prospect, Nunes claimed he had seen alarming information indicating Trump advisers had been swept up in surveillance. Nunes said he had seen “dozens of reports” supporting his claim, which appeared to substantiate the president’s baseless claim that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower.

But Nunes did not reveal that senior White House officials had provided him with the information when he made a late-night trip to the White House. Nunes then lied to Bloomberg’s Eli Lake to conceal the White House’s role.

Backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, Nunes withstood Democratic demands for him to recuse himself from the committee’s Russia probe. Instead, he formally placed the inquiry in the hands of fellow committee Republicans Mike Conaway and Trey Gowdy while he underwent a House ethics committee investigation.

But Nunes remained in an influential position within the committee, using his chairman’s prerogative to unilaterally subpoena to Trump targets like the Fusion GPS firm. And now that Nunes is out from under the ethics committee’s scrutiny, he has intensified his moves to deflect blame from Trump.

His four-page surveillance memo has now far overshadowed the committee’s Russia investigation. As The Daily Beast first reported, it names Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, former FBI Director James Comey, and retiring Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Every Democrat on the House intelligence committee has said Nunes’ memo manipulates the intelligence behind the surveillance request in order to exculpate Trump.

“A misleading set of talking points attacking the FBI...yet another desperate and flailing attempt to undermine Special Counsel Mueller and the FBI,” Democrats characterized it in a Jan. 19 statement.

The New York Times reported this week that Rosenstein this spring signed off on renewing a surveillance warrant on Trump campaign aide Carter Page—who had previously passed documents to a Russian spy—indicating that even Trump appointees saw a sufficient basis for a counterintelligence investigation into Page.

But Rosenstein, who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s circle and Russia, is specifically named in Nunes’ memo—and has become a right-wing target of opportunity. After Nunes won a vote on Monday to declassify his memo, the Fox News commentator Jeanine Pirro said on Sean Hannity’s show that the alleged abuses in the memo merit a special prosecutor, “not Rod Rosenstein, who right now is in the middle of all this.”

Democrats are warning that Pirro’s sentiment reflect the true purpose of Nunes’ memo: to provide a pretext for firing Mueller or his allies in the Justice Department and the FBI; or to have a ready-made narrative to undermine any legal move Mueller ultimately makes against Trump. Mueller is reportedly now seeking to interview Trump personally but it is unclear if Trump’s lawyers will assent.

Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, tweeted Wednesday that Nunes’ memo is “a partisan sham cooked up to undermine the FBI, DOJ, and the Mueller probe. House Republicans are playing a very dangerous game.”

It is also unclear if the House intelligence committee’s Russia investigation will go anywhere. It has not held an open hearing since Nov. 1, and now Nunes has opened a murky investigation into the FBI and Justice Department itself—one that Nunes used on Monday to dismiss law enforcement concerns about releasing his memo.

Nunes’ Democratic counterpart, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, pledged Monday night that the Russia inquest would continue, and announced that Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, would testify on Wednesday. But since then, a Democratic staffer confirmed to The Daily Beast, Bannon’s appearance has been postponed. your social media marketing partner


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-7 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-01-31 14:10
why would it matter? If the memo is factual, who cares who Nunes worked with? All we want is some provable truth for a change, not anymore way out allegations with no proof. Here's a statement that is way out insane: "his incendiary surveillance memo." The Daily Beast has not seen the memo. It does not know what is in it or if it is incendiary or not.

Media hysteria is doing no good. We need things that are proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It Nunes can do that, it will not be "incendiary." It will be the truth. If he can't do it, then the memo is just more fake news.

Articles like this are very entertaining. It is fun to see people wringing their hands with their hair on fire. But as to contributing to a solution to the Trump-Russia puzzle, this one ain't making it.
+11 # ligonlaw 2018-01-31 14:18
The question before the Congress is: How do we protect the United States of America from being invaded by Russia hackers again? Efforts by law enforcement and the security services to protect our national security are being undermined by traitors in the Republican Party who have become the obsequious servants of Trump's pathetic ego and promoters of Putin's quest to dominate American politics. Nunes has betrayed his country and the American people.
-4 # harleysch 2018-02-01 06:15
"How do we protect the USA from being invaded by Russian hackers again?"

Oh, brother, sounds like Joe McCarthy has risen from his grave!

There are some actual problems which must be addressed, such as what will happen to trillions of dollars of unsecured debt when the stock bubble pops, or will Ukrainian neo-Nazis succeed in getting Poroshenko to launch an invasion of eastern Ukraine, in violation of the Minsk Accords? Instead of addressing such matters, "Russiagate" has provoked unjustified hysteria, as in the above post.
+15 # chrisconno 2018-01-31 15:17
Curiouser and curiouser. Our democracy is on the verge of falling to a coup by the Greedy Old Party (GOP). Hopefully our next elections can't be overwhelmed by all the assaults of treason, racism, corruption, god's will and avarice. But we'd better hurry or we will miss the train of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness only to be victims of a deadly fascist train wreck.
-6 # Johnny 2018-01-31 15:52
Lots of opinions, assumptions, and accusations flying around, but Woodruff and Ackerman provide no citation to any facts or evidence of anything.
+1 # librarian1984 2018-02-02 12:00
Sad that a post calling for evidence and facts gets a negative response. I'd expect that at InfoWars, not here. The difference between the left and the right is diminished almost to nothing. One can watch MSDNC or Fox and see the same methods, the same devotion to propaganda, the same lack of journalistic rigor -- but most of US only see the faults on the 'other side'.

The establishment maintains power by dividing us, and it's obviously insanely easy to accomplish.

As usual it's the progressives who are rational. I hope that translates to continuing electoral success so that we might save the hysterical masses from each other .. and themselves.

"If you can keep your head
While all around you are losing theirs and blaming it on you"
- Kipling
+16 # Michaeljohn 2018-01-31 17:38
Nunes, another flunky bought and paid for.
+18 # giraffee23 2018-01-31 17:40
From his past actions and from the Trump administrations past actions it is MORE THAN likely Nunes worked with WH to make this document.

If we allow suspected actions of these people to crumble our democracy - we will end up with a completely shambles of the values that MADE AMERICA GREAT.

Get the $$ out of politics as #1 priority so that Koch (etc) cannot dictate our future.

Are the Republicans so greedy for power and money they are going to sell USA out?

Our defense = is to VOTE and get everyone we can OUT to vote so we can replace people for those willing to follow a corrupt .......

It's like climate change: do it now or kiss all good bye
+19 # Rational Voice 2018-01-31 18:42
Mr. Nunes is more and more looking like a reincarnation of Joe McCarthy
-3 # lfeuille 2018-01-31 21:14
Yes, both sides are playing McCarthy in this little drama.
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-02-02 08:04
It is getting to be a big drama. Although predictions are stupid to make, I do think that Mueller will indict Trump for something, probably obstruction of justice.

It has always been held that a president could not be indicted by a prosecutor because the constitutions specifies impeachment by the House as the remedy for presidential crimes. So Mueller will provoke a constitutional crisis.

The supreme court will have to decide if Trump can be indicted. Given the make up of the court, I'd think Mueller would lose. But he will cause all kinds of chaos in the process.

Cui bono?
+1 # librarian1984 2018-02-02 12:04
Yes, with the majority on both sides increasingly irrational. It is hyping up right now, with few willing to be just .. or even stay calm.
+7 # sbessho 2018-01-31 19:55
Headline translation: "won't say if he" means "undoubtedly."

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