The hashtag #NunesMustResign is now a prominent hashtag on Twitter, with everyone from Constitutional scholars to reputable news outlets calling for the resignation of Devin Nunes. This, after Devin Nunes, the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, engaged in a series of actions following Monday’s public announcement of FBI Director telling the House Committee that the White House is under federal criminal investigation for collusion between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to win the election.
In the days that followed that announcement, the chair of that committee, Republican Devin Nunes engaged in a series of acts that have prompted increased calls for an independent investigation into the Donald Trump Vladimir Putin scandal.
Multiple news outlets, reaching into Canada and the United Kingdom, are reporting that Nunes’ actions this week have put the credibility of the House Intelligence investigation into the Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin scandal into question. CBC News out of Canada reported that Nunes’ actions have prompted “grave concerns about credibility” and that “the damage is done.” The Guardian out of the United Kingdom reports that the Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin investigation is in “danger of unraveling” as a result of Nunes’ “unexplained behavior.”
The entire world is now questioning the credibility of any Trump Russia investigation out of the House Intelligence Committee, as a result of actions taken by its chairman, Devin Nunes.
In America, the Washington Post did not mince words, calling Devin Nunes’ actions this week “contradictory and clownish grandstanding” and are flat out calling for his resignation. The Washington Post also says that House leaders should put an end to the “embarrassing travesty” that is Devin Nunes.
All of these credibility issues were prompted on Wednesday when Devin Nunes called two press conferences to report on new information he had allegedly received regarding Donald Trump’s wiretapping allegations against President Obama. Also at the House Intelligence hearing on Monday, FBI Director James Comey and Director of the NSA, Admiral Michael Rogers, both flatly denounced Trump’s wiretapping claims saying there was no evidence to corroborate those allegations.
But Devin Nunes said otherwise in his press conferences on Wednesday, one of which was performed after he briefed Donald Trump on his alleged new findings. This is where things got strange for Devin Nunes, as briefing the subject of his own investigation is not the protocol for the House Intelligence Committee.
If Devin Nunes had credible information, the protocol is to brief the committee investigating the target in question, in this case Donald Trump, on the subject of collusion with Vladimir Putin. But Devin Nunes did not do that.
Devin Nunes’s behavior has sent shockwaves around the world. The Guardian out of the United Kingdom reports that Wednesday was not the beginning of this behavior, and that this behavior was launched after a “peculiar midnight run” by Devin Nunes the night prior.
On Tuesday evening, The Guardian reports of an “unexplained disappearance” by Devin Nunes when he was in an Uber cab with a fellow staffer on the House Intelligence Committee. TheDaily Beast was the first to report this, saying that Devin Nunes was in a cab with this fellow staffer and received a communication on his telephone, after which he “vanished.”
The next morning, Nunes hastily announced a presser. His own aides, up to the most senior, did not know what their boss planned to say next— Tim Mak (@timkmak) March 25, 2017
Scoop: House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes disappeared off the radar, night before he made Trump surveillance claims: https://t.co/C907g2jUVk— Tim Mak (@timkmak) March 25, 2017
Three committee officials and a former national security official have confirmed this peculiar moment that occurred on Tuesday evening. After the communication was received Nunes reportedly left the car “abruptly” leaving his own staffer in the dark on his location.
The next morning a press conference was hastily called, with staffers “up to the most senior level” not having any clue this was about to happen. Then, Devin Nunes told reporters, “The intelligence community incidentally collected information about United States citizens involved in the Trump transition.”
The next day, Devin Nunes called off an open hearing that was scheduled for the committee, that was to include testimony or statements by CIA Director James Clapper and former Attorney General Sally Yates. Meanwhile, Rep. Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee was going on the record to say there was “more than circumstantial evidence” hinting at collusion between Donald Trump’s transition team and Vladimir Putin.
Devin Nunes was a member of the Trump transition team. He reportedly canceled the hearing to give the committee additional time to confer with FBI Director James Comey on the matter. Rep. Schiff, on the other hand, does not believe this, saying that he felt the hearing had been canceled to “choke off public information” and avoid further embarrassment to the White House over the Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin scandal.
After the hasty press conference on Wednesday, Devin Nunes then took his information to Donald Trump, which was out of protocol. The Guardian reports how Devin Nunes explained that.
“I had a duty and obligation to tell him because as you know, he’s taking a lot of heat in the news media.”
And now, so is Devin Nunes, who also had an obligation to tell his own committee of any breakthroughs in the Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin investigation. Donald Trump has said he felt “vindicated” with Devin Nunes’ revelations, although Rep. Schiff issued a statement saying that the revelations in no way confirm that President Obama engaged in wiretapping against Donald Trump. Rep. Schiff also had some harsh words for Devin Nunes.
“You don’t take information to the White House instead of your own committee if it purports to shed light on one of the things we’re investigating. It’s hard to have confidence if the chairman is going to be involved in that sort of conduct.”
It is unclear who gave Devin Nunes the information that he alleges are on documents, but he says they were “legally brought to me by sources who thought that we should know it.”
At the time of press, the committee still has not gone public to say they have seen the documents in question. Rep. Schiff discussed the situation on “Face the Nation” today.
.@RepAdamSchiff says events of the week underscore the need for an independent commission to give the country confidence in investigation.— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) March 26, 2017
All of these actions have led the Democratic members of House Intelligence to say that Devin Nunes has made a strong case for an independent commission to investigate the Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin allegations. Rep. Schiff has not held back on his concerns.
“The chairman has to make a decision over whether he is a surrogate for the president, as he was during the campaign and transition, or whether he’s leading a bipartisan investigation, because he can’t do both. This week unfortunately he behaved like a surrogate, and that is a real problem.”
The actions have led to not only increased calls for an independent investigation, but also increased calls for Devin Nunes to step down, both in his role as Chairman of House Intelligence and also in his role as a Congress member for some people.
CBC News reports that Congress member and House Intelligence member Jackie Speier says it is a “grave question” over whether or not the committee has faith in their chairman. She also is questioning his role on the committee and his future.
“Over the next few days, we are going to assess whether or not we feel confident that he can continue in that role.”
CBC News reports that veteran staffers of both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees are saying these actions were beyond a breach of decorum. Republican Mark Lowenthal, who served as staff director of the House Intelligence Committee during the Bill Clinton Administration even questioned Devin Nunes’ political acumen.
“It was a rupture in a relationship with the committee in a highly sensitive topic. It becomes very, very unpleasant; trust is lost and it’s hard to get any work done. So yes you can apologize, but the damage is done.”
Lowenthal also reportedly said that if Nunes were “more politically astute” he would have followed the proper channels and gone to Rep. Schiff first.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is also conducting an investigation into the Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin collusion allegations. This series of events could have a collateral effect on that investigation. That committee is scheduled to have their first hearing this week on Thursday, March 3o. Former staff director for Senate Intelligence Committee Gary Schmitt had this to say about the topic.
“You’ll see an effort by the Senate Intelligence Committee itself to be forced in a way to remain as bipartisan as possible because its reputation is at stake. Nunes has put them in a position where if they don’t do their job in a very bipartisan way, the reputation of the institution suffers and they suffer reputationally.”
Schmitt also says that the demands for an independent investigation into the Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin allegations are warranted. The public has increased their concerns for demands over an independent investigation in light of the events this week. Many are also calling for Nunes resignation, saying that would eliminate all of the lost trust issues, and put the House Intelligence Committee back on a fresh page.
TheWashington Post concurs, saying that Nunes’ actions this week were “contradictory and clownish grandstanding.” Although his behavior may have looked irrational, Washington Post says this is not the case.
“He [Nunes] was simply doing everything in his power to protect President Trump, for whom he has become a fierce, if erratic, guard dog.”
The Washington Post noted Senator John McCain’s assessment of the entire mess. Senator McCain went public very quickly after Nunes’ announcements, saying “No longer does the Congress have the credibility to handle this alone. Many are calling for Devin Nunes resignation, including one of America’s most well-respected Constitutional scholars, Lawrence Tribe of Tribe Law.
Washington Post is also calling for Devin Nunes resignation, calling him an embarrassing travesty, “House leaders should put an end to the embarrassing travesty being directed by Mr. Nunes.”
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will begin hearings this week on their probe of the Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin collusion allegations. The first set of hearings is scheduled for Thursday, March 30, and will be a “Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns.” This week’s hearings launching the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Trump Russia investigations will include information and witnesses offering primers on cybersecurity, Russia, and foreign policy. The hearings will be open and live streamed on the Senate Intelligence Committee website.
[Feature Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]