Nunes Recuses Himself From Trump-Russia Investigation And Lies About Why

Ken AshfordL'Affaire RusseLeave a Comment

So the bombshell this morning? House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes dismisses himself from the Trump-Russia investigation. Obviously, it relates to his difficulty being impartial and running defense for the executive branch.

In a petty statement, Nunes said:

Nope. it has nothing to do with leftwing activist groups filing accusations.  The accusation exist and the House Ethics Committee seems to have acted on its own volition:

  Pursuant to Committee Rule 7(g), the Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics (Committee) determined to release the following statement:

The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Devin Nunes may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information, in violation of House Rules, law, regulations, or other standards of conduct.  The Committee, pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a), is investigating and gathering more information regarding these allegations.

The Committee has determined to investigate these allegations in order to fulfill its institutional obligation, under House Rule X, clause 11(g)(4), to investigate certain allegations of unauthorized disclosures of classified information, and to determine if there has been any violation of the Code of Official Conduct under House Rule XXIII, clause 13.  The Committee notes that the mere fact that it is investigating these allegations, and publicly disclosing its review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.

In order to comply with Committee Rule 7 regarding confidentiality, out of fairness to all respondents, and to assure the integrity of its work, the Committee will refrain from making further public statements on this matter pending completion of its initial review.

Chris Cillizza has other thoughts:

Asked late last month about the prospect of stepping away from the Russia investigation, Nunes responded: “Why would I?”

Someone — or something — changed Nunes’s mind between then and now. And I guarantee you it was not the ethics complaints filed by “leftwing activist groups” that explain why Nunes reversed course Thursday morning.

My very strong suspicion is that Nunes came under heavy pressure — from Congressional leadership and even from the White House — to get out of the way because the controversy surrounding his White House visit was causing a major distraction.

Speaker Paul Ryan said as much during his weekly press conference on Thursday.

“Chairman Nunes wants to make sure this is not a distraction to a very important investigation,” Ryan said.

***

Nunes’s decision to recuse himself will, Republicans hope, be some short term pain in exchange for a long-term gain. Yes, it will create even more smoke for a controversy that seen a lot of that already. But, Republicans believe it will also, eventually, clear the decks so that if and when the investigation by the Intelligence Committee yields no significant wrongdoing by the Trump campaign it will be regarded as a credible finding by the political world.
That’s a lot of “maybe’s.” But for Republicans desperate to find a way out of the Russia imbroglio, it’s the best path forward they have available to them.

About this Trump-Russia scandal… for a supposed “nothing burger” there have certainly been a lot of casualties so far:

  1. Manafort (position resigned)
  2. Flynn (position resigned)
  3. Sessions (recused as attorney general on investigation)
  4. Nunes (recused as House Intel Committee Chairman on investigation)

This thing is toxic.