Dispatch September 28, 2018

Are Transcripts Part of Devin Nunes’ Cover-up?

Devin Nunes, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, is set to release transcripts of select testimony from key witnesses in their Russia probe. Here’s a reminder that the investigation he ran was nothing more than an elaborate cover-up on Trump’s behalf.

The investigation was a sham.

  • They haven’t interviewed the people who had contacts with Russia. As the Moscow Project previously documented, when the committee ended its investigation, it had failed to interview or conducted incomplete interviews with individuals involved in 81 percent of the then-known contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
  • They refused to follow leads: Under the leadership of former Trump transition official Devin Nunes, the committee refused to follow important leads and stonewalled efforts to bring in key witnesses, including the accused Russian agent Maria Butina and the five members of Trump’s team who have pleaded guilty to Special Counsel Robert Mueller or the Department of Justice.
  • They did nothing when they were lied to: In at least two instances they failed to follow up on false testimony from Erik Prince and K.T. McFarland, and they failed to follow up on credible accusations against Donald Trump Jr.Jared Kushner, and others.
  • And Nunes has admitted it was all about defending Trump: Nunes flat-out told donors at a private fundraiser that GOP majorities are necessary to shield Trump from accountability, and Republicans on the Hill are reportedly circulating a list of investigations they’re knowingly preventing.

Nunes and House Republicans have again and again sought to weaponize “transparency,” selectively releasing documents in an attempt to defend the president.

  • The Nunes Memo: The biggest backfire was the “Nunes Memo,” which claimed that documents its author hadn’t even read proved collusion was a hoax—but actually revealed that the DOJ believed there was a Russian spy on the Trump campaign.
  • Text Messages: They leaked and endlessly publicized private text messages of FBI agents, trying to paint them as operatives aiming to destroy Trump and exonerate Hillary Clinton while ignoring the DOJ Inspector General’s conclusion that their private opinions didn’t impact the investigations.
  • Uranium One: They called witnesses to resurrect the long-debunked “Uranium One” scandal, a conspiracy theory designed to distract from Trump’s long record of unethical and likely illegal behavior.
  • Unmasking: Nunes partnered with the White House to effectively fabricate evidence backing up Trump’s bogus accusations that the Obama White House had illegally surveilled Trump’s campaign, a charade that resulted in Nunes temporarily recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

What the transcripts will show remains unknown. Still, the pattern is by now clear as day: The Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are only interested in the investigation as far as they can abuse it to inoculate the president from any accountability for his actions.