Saturday, March 25, 2017
The monkey in the middle
Devin Nunes, Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee show clearly the disadvantage of selecting the least capable people for to serve on the various House and Senate committees. Instead if quietly and efficiently steering the investigation of our Potemkin President away from his Russian master. his evey step this week has led to a bigger disaster and earned him the enmity of everybody.
Even on Fox News, Representative Devin Nunes, the beleaguered Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, could not escape the venom from his left.Having covered for Trump, the question becomes, does Nunes really think that Trump will have his back when he needs it? If Trump's history is any indication, and the many repetitions would indicate so, the answer is a big fat NO.
Mr. Nunes, the California lawmaker, stood inside the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on Thursday evening, assuming a familiar set of positions: in front of a camera, giving cover to President Trump and defending himself.
The subject this time was his decision on Wednesday to brief Mr. Trump, whose campaign his committee is investigating, about possible “incidental” surveillance of the president or his associates. “I still think it’s the right call,” Mr. Nunes said of his decision not to tell members of his committee about his trip to the White House.
But as he spoke inside the Capitol, a committee colleague, Representative Jim Himes, Democrat of Connecticut, peered into a different camera, belonging to CNN, a few feet to the left. “It is almost inconceivable,” Mr. Himes said of his chairman’s behavior, more than loud enough to hear nearby. “Lo and behold, a couple of hours later, Donald Trump gets to put the barest of fig leaves on the outrageous tweet about Barack Obama wiretapping him.”
Since Mr. Trump took office, Mr. Nunes has proved an eager purveyor of executive fig leaves. As the leader of an investigation involving the campaign of a man he cheered vocally and served directly as a transition team official, the congressman has often appeared almost incurious about the chief subject of the inquiry.
Of greater concern in the intelligence sphere is his recent burst of media exposure, with a public speaking style that can at times seem cavalier while discussing sensitive information. This has led to misgivings about sharing national security details with him, a senior American intelligence official said.
Many lawmakers crave attention, racing to microphones and pounding lecterns in search of cable news glory. But Mr. Nunes, who can seem by turns earnest and reticent in person, is something different: After over a decade in the House, he has appeared to lurch haphazardly into the spotlight, like Kramer entering a room on “Seinfeld,” straining to keep his balance as a human shield in Washington’s daily Trump wars.
Mr. Nunes said on Fox News that he felt he “had a duty and obligation” to tell Mr. Trump about the possible surveillance. “Because as you know, he’s taking a lot of heat in the news media.”
Now the president has company in that regard: Mr. Nunes, a former dairy farmer, elected to Congress in 2002 at age 29, from a deep-red section of a deep-blue state. The Democratic National Committee has even adopted a new label for him: “White House stooge.”
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