The ongoing witch hunt of Trump/Russia collusion just took an interesting turn. A group of Republicans in the House of Representatives — frustrated with the Justice Department’s refusal to explain its use of the now-discredited Trump “dossier” — has spent the past few weeks quietly investigating the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI. And they may seek congressional approval to declassify some of their evidence before releasing their report early next year.
Citing four unnamed sources familiar with the investigation, Politico reported last week that those Republicans have “gathered secretly for weeks in the Capitol in an effort to build a case that senior leaders of the Justice Department and FBI improperly — and perhaps criminally — mishandled the contents of a dossier that describes alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia.”
One of the leaders of the investigating group is House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (shown). His frustration at the stonewalling of DOJ and FBI officials to come clean about their use of the “dossier” has led him to the place where he intends to subpoena multiple senior FBI agents to compel their testimony about it, according to a report by Fox News.
This is not the first experience of Nunes with the Trump/Russia witch hunt. In April, he was forced to recuse himself from the Trump/Russia investigation after he was targeted by “several left-wing activist groups” that “filed accusations against [him] with the Office of Congressional Ethics.” Nunes stepped down, but issued a statement saying, “The charges are entirely false and politically motivated, and are being leveled just as the American people are beginning to learn the truth about the improper unmasking of the identities of U.S. citizens and other abuses of power.” He added, “Despite the baselessness of the charges, I believe it is in the best interests of the House Intelligence Committee and the Congress for me to have Representative Mike Conaway, with assistance from Representatives Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney, temporarily take charge of the Committee’s Russia investigation while the House Ethics Committee looks into this matter.”
As this writer reported at the time, the accusations filed by “left-wing activist groups” focused on Nunes’s briefing of President Trump about intelligence intercepts of communications between Trump campaign personnel and Russian officials. Apparently informing the president of the illegal “unmasking” of citizens of the United States in reports produced while conducting surveillance on a presidential candidate is a bigger deal that that “unmasking” and surveillance.
Of course, nothing ever came of the ethics charges against Nunes — lending credence to his assertion that his recusal was the goal all along. But Nunes, it appears, knows how to come back swinging. And with the secret investigation he has been leading, some heads at the DOJ and FBI may roll. The four sources cited by Politico have said the goal of Nunes is to “highlight what some committee Republicans see as corruption and conspiracy in the upper ranks of federal law enforcement. The group hopes to release a report early next year detailing their concerns about the DOJ and FBI,” according to the report. Furthermore, the group of House Republicans working with Nunes may “seek congressional votes to declassify elements of their evidence.”
That the Trump/Russia investigation is a politically motivated witch hunt is a foregone conclusion. In early April, this writer reported that — after months of searching and investigating — Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calf.), the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN’s State of the Union that there is no solid proof that there was ever any link between Russia and the Trump campaign. Neither the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller nor Mueller’s investigation for that matter have changed that fact; no solid proof has been presented. To be sure, Mueller has put a couple of notches in his belt by bringing charges against some Trump associates, but those charges — while creating a stir in the anti-Trump liberal media — actually have nothing to do with either the Trump campaign or the Trump presidency.
On the other hand, the Nunes-led investigation — while conducted in secret and with results yet unknown — will likely have little trouble uncovering actions that could best (if not only) be described as corrupt or even illegal. The group conducting the investigation suspects that “the FBI and DOJ have worked either to hurt Trump or aid his former campaign rival Hillary Clinton,” according to Politico. Considering the fact that the Trump “dossier” (which was funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC, was never considered reliable, and has since been completely discredited) was used by Trump’s enemies as a launching platform for much of their worthless investigation, evidence of corruption and illegality should be about as hard to find as clowns at a circus — or in Washington, D.C. In fact, they appear to have already found something worthwhile. After all, according to the Politico report, Nunes’s group is considering seeking approval from Congress to “declassify elements of their evidence.”
Upon learning of the Nunes probe, Schiff preemptively defended both the DOJ and FBI while simultaneously attacking Nunes and anyone else who deigns to question the integrity of the witch hunters. Schiff said that while he was unaware of the investigation, he sees it as consistent with the “increasingly destructive bent in Republicans’ rhetoric and actions,” according to Politico. Schiff went on to say that what he sees happening in the House Intelligence Committee investigation is “an effort to attack the Department of Justice, an effort to attack the FBI, to attack Bob Mueller, is an effort to undermine the investigations and these institutions out of fear of what they’ll find and try to discredit them in advance,” adding, “It’s a pernicious thing to do that will ultimately inflict long-term damage on these institutions.”
Here’s a tip for Schiff and any one else who share his sentiment: If the investigations into allegations of Trump/Russia collusion have not uncovered any proof of that alleged collusion in the the past more than a year, it’s likely that there isn’t anything to find. Schiff’s assertion that Nunes and company are looking into the possibility (or, more likely, probability) of corruption in the DOJ and FBI relative to that investigation is an effort to “discredit them in advance” because of “fear of what they’ll find” smells for all the world like a diversion: one is left to wonder if he isn’t trying to discredit Nunes and company in advance of their report early next year for fear of what they have already found.
Photo of Rep. Devin Nunes: AP Images