Tag Archives: House Intelligence Committee

Make recusal permanent, Rep. Nunes

U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes has recused himself “temporarily” from the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged connection to Russian government hackers.

Fine. Let’s make the recusal permanent, shall we?

Moreover, let’s work to institute an independent investigation into the potentially grave matter and take it completely out of the hands of partisan politicians.

Nunes chaired the Intelligence panel. Then he revealed he had some knowledge of “incidental surveillance” being done on Trump campaign officials. He ventured to the White House secretly and met in private with the president.

The former chairman managed to compromise his independence completely. After all, he had served on Trump’s transition team. From where I sit, he is too close to the subject of his committee’s investigation.

The Intelligence Committee chairmanship now falls to Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican. He pledges to carry the investigation forward.

I fear that won’t be good enough.

This matter is beginning to swallow up Congress as well as the White House. Politics is threatening to get in everyone’s way while the questions continue to surround the president, his campaign staff and even his governing administration.

Did the campaign collude with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election? Did the president defame former President Obama by accusing him falsely of ordering a wiretap prior to Trump taking office?

Republicans tend to give the president a pass on all of this; Democrats are quick to convict him of all of the above.

Independence is required to produce a thorough and unbiased investigation.

Nunes’ recusal is a start toward that end. Let’s finish it by handing it over to an independent counsel.

Maybe the Senate panel can hold it together

U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner have something in common.

They are the chairman and ranking Democratic member, respectively, of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is in the midst of a probe into whether Russian spooks colluded with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to influence the 2016 election.

But their commonality? It rests in the dysfunction occurring with the House Intelligence Committee. Chairman Devin Nunes is under increasing fire over allegations that he has compromised himself because of his coziness with the president.

The House panel has been high-centered over the controversy. Meanwhile, Sens. Burr and Warner pledge to remain cooperative and to ensure that their committee proceeds with all deliberate speed to get the facts out.

Many of their fellow Americans — including yours truly — are hoping that they can uphold their pledge.

My own belief is that there needs to be a special prosecutor to do the job that Congress seems incapable of doing, which is to scour the evidence completely to learn whether there was any collusion.

However, I am ready to accept Burr and Warner making a solemn promise to keep their investigation on track.

Rest assured, senators. A lot of us out here are going to hold your feet to the fire.

POTUS can end this tumult immediately, if only …

Donald J. Trump is the world’s most powerful man.

As president of the United States, he has at his disposal the ability to put all this Russia/wiretap tumult to rest immediately.

How does he do that if what he says is true, that all this hubbub is much ado about nothing, that it’s all “fake news”?

He can order every aide with any possible tie to the Russia story to talk to congressional investigators. He can order them to speak candidly to the FBI. He can allow the former acting attorney general, the one he fired, to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.

All of this, of course, presumes that Trump is innocent of the accusations that are flying all over Washington, D.C.

Did his campaign conspire with Russian hackers to influence the 2016 election? Trump says it didn’t happen. His behavior of late, however, is beginning to smell like something different. It’s beginning to develop the odor of a cover-up.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is pushing back on calls for him to recuse himself from this investigation. Democrats want him out; so do some Republicans. He says he has nothing to hide. Yet he canceled a hearing with former acting AG Sally Yates. It’s fair to ask: Why?

The House investigation is showing symptoms of an impending implosion.

The principal at the center of all this now occupies the White House. This is Donald Trump’s controversy to squash. He can demand a full public accounting of all the questions that are threatening to swallow his still-young presidency.

That presumes the president’s innocence.

Does he — or doesn’t he — have anything to hide?

Step aside, Chairman Nunes

The more I think about it, the very idea of Devin Nunes chairing the House Intelligence Committee that’s examining Donald J. Trump’s potential Russia connections seems utterly ludicrous.

Chairman Nunes should do what his Democratic colleagues and many of his fellow Republicans are demanding of him. He should recuse himself from the panel’s Russia investigation.

C’mon, man! He served on Donald Trump’s presidential transition team. He has just recently gotten involved in an imbroglio regarding intelligence he said he had that suggested someone had spied on Trump, gathering “incidental” intelligence.

Now he’s trying to explain how he managed to tell the president about it and why he did it.

His objectivity has been compromised to the hilt.

Ranking Democratic Committee member Adam Schiff has demanded that Nunes step down. U.S. Sen. John McCain has joined the chorus; so has fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

This, folks, now seems like a “well, duh!” moment, given Nunes’ role in Trump’s transition.

The Russia probe needs dispassionate leadership from the House Intelligence Committee chairman. There needs to be a thorough examination of all the evidence that’s been gathered.

The questions are these:

* Did the president collude with Russian hackers who sought to influence the 2016 presidential election?

* Did anyone on his campaign engage in collusion? Did they do so with the candidate’s knowledge?

The House Intelligence Committee needs a chairman who is able — and willing — to seek the truth, no matter where it leads him.

Devin Nunes is not that man.

Step aside, Mr.Chairman.

What gives with Chairman Nunes?

What is it with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes?

He is up to his armpits with information pertaining to Donald Trump’s possible involvement with Russian hackers and their effort to swing the election in his favor. Nunes also is privy to the circumstances surrounding the president’s phony allegation that Barack Obama “ordered” a wiretap of Trump’s offices in New York City.

He then meets with the president — in the White House! — to tell him about “incidental” intelligence that might have been gathered.

Now we hear that he had a meeting prior to going to the White House with someone, supposedly the source of that “incidental” intelligence.

According to NBC News: “‘Chairman Nunes met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source,’ said his spokesman, Jack Langer.”

What did they discuss?

Hmmm. I presume you’ll recall the time former President Clinton boarded an airplane in Phoenix to talk to then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, whose department was investigating Hillary Clinton’s e-mail matter. Republicans raised all kinds of hell about the appearance of impropriety. They just didn’t know for certain what the ex-president and the AG discussed and they all but accused President Clinton of trying to get Lynch to back off her department’s probe.

Lynch and Clinton said they talked about all manner of things — except that issue.

So, I believe it’s reasonable to ask: What did Chairman Nunes discuss at the White House — and with whom did he discuss it?

I am now believing that Devin Nunes should not be chairing the House committee that’s assigned to investigate these increasingly frightening matters involving the president of the United States.

Stop the tease, Rep. Schiff, about ‘circumstantial evidence’

Now it’s a leading congressional Democrat who’s teasing the public with something — still unknown — relating to whether the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign was in cahoots with the Russians to influence the 2016 election.

Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told NBC’s Chuck Todd that the committee has “more than circumstantial evidence” that the campaign and the Russians conspired to swing the election in Trump’s favor.

Really, Rep. Schiff? But you can’t tell us anything because it’s, um, classified. Is that right?

Imagine the buzz such a statement is making. No, you don’t have to imagine it. It’s all over the media.

It’s getting a bit testy in Washington, D.C., these days.

Neil Gorsuch is going through a grueling confirmation hearing to become the next Supreme Court justice; the president is twisting arms among House Republicans to get them to approve a GOP alternative to the Affordable Care Act; a terrorist struck in London, killing and injuring several bystanders; Republicans are calling for a special prosecutor to examine the Russia story; and the Intelligence Committee’s Republican chairman, Devin Nunes, blabbed to the president that his office in New York might have been the object of “incidental” surveillance by someone.

In the meantime, the FBI director has shot down in flames the president’s assertion that Barack Obama bugged Trump Tower.

Now we hear from the House Intelligence panel’s top Democrat that the committee might have the goods on whether the Trump campaign committed a potentially treasonous act by colluding with Russians goons who attacked our democratic electoral process.

Rep. Schiff has now acted in a sort of Trumpian fashion by teasing us with a morsel that might evolve into a full-course political meal.

Or … it might be a lot of nothing.

Which is it?

Intelligence panel chair channels Trump with disclosure

Well now …

What in the world is going on here? The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Devin Nunes says someone surveilled Donald J. Trump’s e-mail during the time between the election and when he became president of the United States, which seems at first blush to give a tiny sliver of justification for what the president has alleged about that bogus wiretap assertion.

Not so fast, according to the Intelligence panel’s top-ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, who says Nunes didn’t follow anything close to proper protocol by making that announcement.

Not surprisingly, Schiff has doubts about what Chairman Nunes has suggested.

Schiff said the information Nunes reportedly has should have been shared with other committee members before he went public with it. Schiff said the committee hasn’t seen anything.

This makes me wonder: Is the chairman channeling Donald Trump, suggesting something out loud without any proof of what he’s saying?

Nunes isn’t saying, to be fair, that what he has discovered gives any credence to the bogus notion that former President Obama ordered a wiretap on Trump’s campaign offices in Trump Tower. Schiff, though, is angry with the chairman for blithely introducing this information without briefing other committee members.

He calls it a “profound irregularity.”

I just hope it doesn’t become a profound cover-up.

Rep. Schiff: We’re at the ‘bottom’ of wiretap story

Adam Schiff strikes me as a thoughtful young man.

He’s the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. He and the Republican chairman, Deven Nunes, also of California, have become a sort of tag-team that seeks to get Donald Trump to produce proof of a dangerous allegation he has made about former President Obama.

Today, Schiff said on “Meet the Press” that Congress appears to have reached “the bottom” of the president’s assertion — that Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump’s offices in New York City.

There is no “bottom,” Schiff said. No proof. No evidence. No substantiation. The president, said the congressman, has now introduced a dangerous new standard for recklessness that could have profound impact on any business the United States seeks to conduct at home or abroad.

Indeed, how are our allies going to react to anything that comes from the president’s Twitter account? He’s already dragged the British intelligence network into this tawdry matter, asserting that the Brits had a hand in the alleged wiretap.

He stood with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and sought to lure her into the ongoing matter, suggesting that Obama had wiretapped Merkel and other European allies.

The president is not backing off. He’s offering not a hint of proof. Nor is he offering the scent of contrition.

What in the world is this man — the president of the United States — going to do next? Who else is he going to slander?

We might find out plenty this week when FBI Director James Comey walks onto Capitol Hill to testify about what he knows and whether there was any authorization given to do what Trump has accused the former president of doing.

I would think the FBI boss would know.

If not, well, Rep. Schiff is right. We’ve found the bottom of this story. And as the late Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland, Calif.: We’ve found “there is no there there.”

Time to put up or shut up … Mr. President?

Today might be the day when the president of the United States delivers the goods on what he knows — allegedly — about a so-called wiretap ordered by President Obama on the Trump Tower offices.

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee reportedly has sent a letter to the White House asking for evidence that Donald J. Trump has to back up his allegation that Obama tapped the New York campaign offices to search for proof that Trump was colluding with Russian government officials who sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

Trump hasn’t provided any proof. House Intelligence panel officials want to see it.

Is this a firm deadline? Ohhh, probably not. But the president needs to provide proof of the incendiary accusation he has leveled against his immediate predecessor. He has accused Barack Obama of breaking the law, committing a felony. That’s what this clown does; he says things to garner headlines without any substantiation.

Absent any proof we are left to wonder out loud about what the president is trying to do. Why in the world does he do these things?

Is this act alone — a reckless accusation that the former president has broken the law — an impeachable offense? There’s some chatter that, yes, it is. I am not prepared to jump on that haywagon.

This president, though, has demonstrated graphically a willingness to say anything, to damage anyone. He has yet to demonstrate an ability to corroborate his fiery rhetoric.

House intel panel dismisses Benghazi myths

Well, shut my mouth and dip me in sesame seeds. A key congressional committee has determined that the CIA officials who responded to the terror attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya were “heroes,” and not goats.

Perhaps you’ve heard the term “Benghazi.” It’s become a mantra for those interested in condemning the State Department over its action relating to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the diplomatic compound in the Libyan city. Four men were killed, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.


Congressional Republicans have wanted to tar then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton over what happened at the compound.

Now we have the House Select Committee on Intelligence dispelling some of the myths associated with the attack and the criticism of the U.S. response to it.

The committee, chaired by Republican Mike Rogers of Michigan, said this, according to Politico: “The committee … found the U.S. government didn’t fail to send assistance to the Americans under siege by Islamic militants and there was no ‘stand down order’ from the State Department. The committee also dismissed the notion that there was an ‘intelligence failure’ the allowed the attacks to occur.

Imagine that. The panel charged with investigating intelligence operations within the government says the attack was what the administration said it was: a chaotic event brought on by a group of terrorists looking to kill Americans.

Will that dissuade the persistent critics who are hell bent on damaging the presidential prospects of the former secretary of state? Don’t hold your breath.

Chairman Rogers, though, has done a service for those around the country — such as yours truly — who have grown weary of congressional witch hunters looking for a scenario that matches the outcome they’ve already determined.