Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) defended the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee’s integrity Thursday on MSNBC by misrepresenting the embattled Republican’s constitutional duties.
Nunes has come under fire after publicly revealing the Trump transition team had been snared in the U.S. surveillance of foreign agents, and then briefing the White House, before sharing those details with his colleagues.
He still hasn’t shared the documents, which he obtained from an undisclosed source on the White House grounds, and some GOP lawmakers have begun calling for him to step down from overseeing the investigation.
“I know Devin, (and) he’s a man of high integrity and character,” Yoho said, echoing his previous defense of Nunes.
“I think he will do the right thing,” Yoho continued. “If he feels he’s been compromised and needs to step aside, I’m sure he will. Until he makes that decision I’m not concerned with it.”
The Florida Republican then misrepresented the Constitution’s separation of powers to justify Nunes briefing President Donald Trump on the surveillance, even though some members of his transition team — and possibly the president himself — are under FBI investigation for alleged ties to Russia.
“You have to keep in mind who he works for,” Yoho told MSNBC. “He works for the president and answers to the president.”
MSNBC’s Craig Melvin asked Yoho whether the committee chairman actually worked for his constituents, and not the executive branch.
“You do both,” Yoho said. “But when in that capacity, if you’ve got information, I’m okay with what he did.”
Yoho then complained that he didn’t work for the president when Melvin asked him about Trump’s attacks on his fellow conservatives in the Freedom Caucus.
“I don’t work for the president, I don’t work for the (House) leadership,” Yoho said. “I work for the people that sent me here.”
Melvin pointed out that Yoho had claimed just moments before that Nunes worked for the president, and the lawmaker stumbled.
“As a congressman, they work for their constituents, as a chairman of a committee, he has, okay?” Yoho said.
So much for ‘originalism’ — Trump’s impeachment defense is a constitutional dumpster fire
In the absence of any exculpatory evidence, Donald Trump's defense against impeachment increasingly relies on arguments that fly directly in the face of the Constitution. Trump himself set the standard last July with his grandiose claim that "Article II says I can do anything I want," which encountered no serious pushback from his fellow Republicans.
This article first appeared in Salon.
Trump lawyer Purpura busted by MSNBC for lying on the Senate floor during impeachment trial
Moments after the end of the Saturday's Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump concluded, MSNBC host Brian Williams pointed out that one of Donald Trump's attorney's lied on the Senate floor about the president's Ukraine scandal-- and he had a clip handy to prove it.
Sharing footage of attorney Mike Purpura stating the higher-ups in Ukraine were unaware that Donald Trump was withholding aid until after the government helped him by announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, the MSNBC host called the attorney out.
To make his point that Pupura was being untruthful, Williams then showed a clip of Defense Department official Laura Cooper, who testified that Ukrainians were asking about the delay on the day of the Trump phone call that was the starting point of the impeachment trial.
‘That dog doesn’t hunt’: Ex-senator burns down fake GOP outrage over Schiff’s ‘heads on pikes’ comment
Speaking to MSNBC's Brian Williams on Saturday, former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) had no patience for the GOP senators, including the so-called "moderates" Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), complaining about the closing comments by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) quoting an anonymous source to CBS News saying President Donald Trump and threatened senators would have their "head on a pike" if they voted to convict.
"Several Republican senators took umbrage," said Williams. "Collins is said to have reacted verbally in the chamber. Murkowski was hurt afterwards. Can they really pin a vote on injured feelings?"