Republican Representative Devin Nunes has over the last week or so caused many to question whether Republicans in general – and Representative Nunes in particular – can impartially carry out an investigation into any ties that Donald Trump and his administration might have with the Russian government. As reported by the Boston Herald, some are calling for Representative Nunes to follow Attorney General Sessions’ example and entirely recuse himself from the ongoing investigation.
Nunes’ apparent loyalty to Donald Trump, his management of the committee investigating Trump, and his recent involvement with disgraced former national security advisor Michael Flynn would all seem to make his position as lead congressional investigator untenable. His recent apology regarding some of his decisions doesn’t really solve this problem.
Obama Wiretaps and Devin Nunes
Only a few days ago, Representative Nunes suggested that President Obama may have – indirectly – tapped Donald Trump’s phone after all. These accusations of wiretapping – spread by Trump via his Twitter account – had already been shot down by multiple intelligence agencies, including British intelligence.
But when Devin Nunes learned that Russians living in Trump Tower had been directly monitored by intelligence agencies in the United States, he apparently leaped to the conclusion that this meant that Donald Trump himself had also been – however inadvertently – monitored by the FBI. Nunes has since retracted this suggestion that Obama violated the law by illegally gathering intelligence on Donald Trump, but it caused many on the committee to question his continuing leadership of the Trump/Russia investigation.
The fact that Nunes immediately took this faulty information straight to the White House to report it to Donald Trump – without first conferring with other members of the investigatory committee in the House of Representatives – also suggested to many that Nunes’ investigation of Trump’s ties to Vladimir Putin couldn’t possibly be impartial.
After all, Nunes’ first duty should be to the legislative branch of the United States government, not Trump’s separate executive branch.
In addition to all of the above, Nunes also chose – again without consulting with the Democratic cochairman of his committee, Representative Schiff – to cancel upcoming open hearings in which a number of prominent figures involved in the Trump/Russia situation were expected to testify.
As reported by CNN, Representative Schiff is now directly accusing Devin Nunes of having canceled these hearings for the specific purpose of protecting Trump from damaging public revelations regarding the extent to which the Trump administration has been compromised by Putin’s Russia.
Yet another recent revelation that might suggest the need for Nunes to recuse himself from the Donald Trump investigation by Congress has to do with scandal-ridden and recently resigned National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. In addition to Michael Flynn’s meetings with Russia prior to the inauguration – which probably violated the Logan Act – it has been reported that he also had seemingly improper meetings with Turkish officials as well.
These September meetings were reported by former CIA director James Woolsey. However, a later January meeting between Turkish officials and Michael Flynn also included Congressman Devin Nunes. So it’s difficult to see how Nunes can be described – by any stretch of the imagination – as impartial in the Trump administration investigation.
For all these reasons, it only makes sense for Devin Nunes to recuse himself. It’s not as if the Democrat Shiff would be left in sole control of the committee. The Republicans could simply appoint someone else to take over the top Republican position – Nunes’ – for the duration of the investigation. That is, if they want to reassure the American people that a real investigation is taking place.
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