GOP House intel head Nunes: Fired adviser Michael Flynn should be ‘thanked’ for secret talks with Russians
Devin Nunes speaks to reporters (CNN/screen grab)

In what may be a precursor of House Intelligence Committee hearings into possible connections between the administration of President Donald Trump and the Russians, the head of the committee claims former national security adviser Michael Flynn deserves the "thanks" of a grateful nation.

Speaking with the New York Times, where Democratic leaders expressed their fears that the committee won't take the allegations seriously, Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) had a different take on Flynn's contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump was sworn in.

According to Nunes, Flynn is merely a "tangent" in his upcoming hearings and that Americans should appreciate what he was doing -- reportedly on his own.

“From everything that I can see, his conversations with the Russian ambassador, he was doing this country a favor, and he should be thanked for it,” Nunes said without elaborating on the value or content of Flynn's conversations.

Flynn was fired by Trump in February after it was revealed that he had lied to Vice President Pence and other senior administration officials about his conversations -- which then led to Pence appearing on national TV and claiming the meeting never occured.

Earlier in the week, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) warned that the hearings might be a whitewash and that Democratic objections to the findings might be shoved aside.

"If we get to the point at any time where I feel we can’t do that, where there are legitimate lines of investigation that are being walled off, then I will say so,” Schiff promised.