Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) ignored all the evidence presented in the impeachment hearings and instead asked viewers to accept an implausible counter-narrative about the whistleblower complaint that prompted the inquiry.
The House Intelligence Committee’s ranking Republican gave a closing statement Thursday that laid out a timeline that he argued proved the complaint was made after special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation failed to result in impeachment, reported Bloomberg’s Jonathan Bernstein.
“What, then, is Nunes really saying?” Bernstein wrote. “What Trump says: This is a witch hunt, meaning in Trump’s odd vocabulary a hunt by witches, and investigations by witches are inherently illegitimate. So if Schiff is a witch, and Nancy Pelosi is a witch, and the witnesses are witches, and the whistle-blower was most definitely a witch, then they have no basis for action against the president, and it doesn’t really matter what so-called evidence they might present.”
“Is that a stretch?” he added. “Maybe, but it’s a lot less inane/insane than what Nunes is asking us to believe.”
The former special counsel testified July 24 before Congress, but Democrats came away from the hearing disappointed — and Nunes claims they took another shot at taking down Trump’s presidency.
The president’s phone call the following day, July 25, became the subject of a whistleblower complaint that alerted the intelligence community’s inspector general to Trump’s request to his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Joe Biden.
According to all nine witnesses in the impeachment hearings, Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani had been engaged for months in those efforts.
Congressional Republicans have shifted the defense of the president’s actions and are currently sitting on the position that Trump did what was alleged, but there’s nothing wrong with his actions.
But Nunes offered something a bit more mind-bending.
The California Republican argued that the whistleblower was able to line up about a dozen foreign policy and national security staffers — in some cases, Trump appointees — and convince them to testify that Trump’s call was inappropriate.
Nunes’ theory also rests on the possibility that the whistleblower could have scheduled the call or set in motion Giuliani’s efforts to dig up campaign dirt on Biden in Ukraine.
He also asked viewers to believe that Democrats invented a scandal involving Ukraine instead of just hyping evidence that had already been turned up by Mueller, who described multiple instances where Trump appears to have obstructed justice.
The ranking Republicans closing argument isn’t just implausible, according to Bloomberg — it rests somewhere between inane and insane.