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A major problem for Donald Trump: Devin Nunes can no longer play defense for the president

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Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., may have been reelected on Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean his career didn’t take a major hit.

This article was originally published at Salon

Nunes managed to comfortably defeat Democratic challenger Andrew Janz in the latter’s bid to oust him from his seat in California’s 22nd congressional district. Nunes has enormous built-in advantages going into the race, including the fact that his district already leans Republican, that he is an eight-term incumbent and that he received more than $1 million from corporate donors. Even though Janz attempted to offset these disadvantages by focusing on Nunes’ water policies (the district is heavily agricultural and Nunes has been criticized for his pro-corporate outlook), that wasn’t enough to stop Nunes from rolling up an easy victory.

But not all of the news on Tuesday night was good for Nunes.

Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives, so Nunes will lose his chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee, and with it his ability to protect President Donald Trump.

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This is not inconsequential for Nunes. The California congressman rose from obscurity during the first two years of Trump’s term by repeatedly carrying the president’s water, even when that meant undermining his credibility as an ostensibly impartial overseer of the Trump-Russia investigation.

In April 2017 he publicly discussed classified foreign surveillance reports that he had viewed on the White House’s grounds in order to claim that members of Trump’s campaign had been wrongly unmasked by members of President Barack Obama’s administration, a false charge seemingly motivated by a desire to validate Trump’s equally false story about Trump Tower having been wiretapped. It was later revealed that Trump had told the intelligence community he was “going to mobilize to find something to justify the president’s tweet that he was being surveilled,” and that Nunes’ actions had occurred shortly thereafter.

That same month, Nunes was secretly recorded telling a Republican Party dinner that “the Democrats don’t want an investigation on Russia. They want an independent commission. Why do they want an independent commission? Because they want to continue the narrative that Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are best friends, and that’s the reason that he won, because Hillary Clinton would have never lost on her own; it had to be someone else’s fault.”

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In 2018, Nunes has been criticized for pushing online for a #releasethememo movement, one that he claimed would declassify a memorandum that undermined the Steele dossier and with it the entire Trump-Russia investigation (the memo that was eventually released did no such thing). He has also threatened to hold Justice Department officials like Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt for not disclosing sensitive information about the Trump-Russia investigation, even though officials have explained that doing so would “risk severe consequences, including potential loss of human lives, damage to relationships with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations, and interference with intelligence activities.”

In other words, Trump has needed Nunes in his role as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in order to make sure that a body which is supposed to place a check on his power and investigate him if necessary would instead do his bidding. With Nunes out of that position, Trump will face a House Intelligence Committee that might actually do its job.


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Joy Reid says Trump ‘pulled a full Charlottesville’ by ‘fanning the flames’ of racism and ethno-nationalism

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MSNBC anchor Joy Reid blasted President Donald Trump's racism during her opening segment while hosting "The Last Word" on MSNBC on Friday.

"That didn’t last long. Having read the talking points crammed into his hands by nervous Republicans for almost an entire day, Donald Trump pulled a full Charlottesville, praising his supporters who chanted 'Send Her Back' to attack Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) at his North Carolina campaign rally as 'incredible patriots,'" Reid reported.

"Yep, 24-hours-ago, Trump -- per those nervous Republican talking points -- claimed that he disapproved of the racist chant about congresswoman Omar and even tried to stop it," she said. "He got nice headlines that claiming he was disavowing the chant from some of the news media who indulged in the false balance tick of pretending whatever the president said is true and it’s a given fact."

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Maddow revolted by child sex trafficking charges against Trump pal George Nader: ‘None of this is normal’

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow connected the dots between the President Donald Trump's administration and George Nader, who served time for child pornography prior to Trump's 2016 campaign and has subsequently been arrested on child sex trafficking charges.

"In what is an astonishingly scandal-ridden presidency, populated by an astonishingly strange cast of characters, he remains one of the most unsettling figures in all of Trump world. Again, to be clear, to disambiguate here, we are not talking about Jeffrey Epstein, seen here with the president, who is also now in custody awaiting child sex trafficking charges," Maddow explained. "No, this is a whole different guy who you can see in this picture with the president who is now in federal custody awaiting a different set of sex trafficking charges as well as serious child porn charges and not for the first time."

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Fox News hires former Trump spokesman as Senior Vice President: report

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The revolving door between the White House and Fox News was spinning on Friday as a former spokesman for President Donald Trump was hired by Fox News.

"A bit of news: Raj Shah, the former spokesman in the White House, is joining Fox as a senior Vice President," Washington Post White House correspondent Josh Dawsey reported on Friday.

https://twitter.com/jdawsey1/status/1152374273522241537

After Hope Hicks left her job as White House communications director, she was hired to lead corporate communications for New Fox, the parent company of Fox News.

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