Quantcast
Connect with us

What about Devin Nunes? Trump impeachment trial begins today — but shouldn’t Nunes be in trouble, too?

Published

on

Thanks for your support!
This article was paid for by reader donations to Raw Story Investigates.
devin nunes hold up

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.

Terry H. Schwadron
Terry H. Schwadron

Naturally, the impeachment’s Ukraine-centered plot is focused on Donald Trump and his white whale-like obsession with calling for dirt on likely opponent Joe Biden.

But I hope we don’t lose track of the other administration players in the process, and particularly not Rep. Devin Nunes, R-CA, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee.

New release of documents shows text messages and meetings between Lev Parnas, the now-talkative functionary between Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainian officials, and Derek Harvey, an aide to Nunes, as well as contacts with Nunes himself. All that would be interesting by itself, except that Nunes presented himself as something other in sitting in judgment of testifying witnesses before the Intelligence committee.

ADVERTISEMENT

Nunes was sarcastic, outspoken and derisive in defending Trump and demeaning the appalled ambassadors and government witnesses who braved ridicule to testify about what they knew of a campaign to pressure Ukraine’s leader into calling for a Biden investigation based on very little in return for White House recognition and military aid from the United States.

Nunes feigned outrage when it was suggested that he had met or had had contact with Parnas. Now there are messages that show that to have been true.

My question is simple: Why is Nunes allowed to continue to serve as a congressman if he lies from his official office, sits on an important investigation in violation of any kind of understandable ethics standards and actually participated at any level in the exact allegations of misconduct being investigated by his committee?

Nunes has a long history of other strange behavior, and was called before the House ethics committee on allegations of sharing classified information about the Russia probe that led to the Mueller Report. He eventually was cleared of wrongdoing, but forced to cede his seat on all matters related to that investigation.

He also has been quick to vow or file lawsuits against fellow Congress members who criticize him, or against Twitter for allowing what he sees as defamatory social media posts about himself. The Fresno Bee newspaper in his home district endorsed his opponent in the last election.

ADVERTISEMENT

*

The released documents indicate Nunes’s office was aware of the operation at the heart of impeachment proceedings against the president — and sought to use the information Parnas was gathering. They show that Parnas was working last spring to set up calls for Harvey, the Nunes aide, with the Ukrainian prosecutors who were feeding Giuliani information about Biden.

“Also do you want to interview the general prosecutor who got [ditched] by Biden? Also, the anti-corruption prosecutor? Let me know,” Parnas wrote on April 19. “Does tomorrow work?” Harvey responded.

ADVERTISEMENT

The messages also show that Harvey met with Parnas and Giuliani at the Trump hotel in Washington.

According to The Washington Post, the text messages corroborate Parnas’s previous claims that he arranged conversations with the Ukrainian prosecutors for the Nunes aide. And they deepen questions about how much Nunes knew about the pressure campaign — even as he served as one of Trump’s most vociferous defenders during the House impeachment hearings.

ADVERTISEMENT

Politico noted that he text messages show Harvey in contact with Parnas throughout the spring of 2019 — the same time Parnas was working with Giuliani and other Trump allies to remove the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Yovanovitch had been viewed as an obstacle to Giuliani’s effort to convince Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rivals.

“I was in shock when I was watching the hearings and when I saw Devin Nunes sitting up there,” Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow this week. “I texted my attorney. I said, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.’ ”

Records that the House Democrats released in December first showed calls between Parnas and Nunes. At the time, Nunes said he couldn’t remember speaking with Parnas.

ADVERTISEMENT

Nunes told Fox News that he had reviewed his records, which refreshed his memory of having one conversation. “I checked it with my records and it was very clear — I remember that call, which was very odd, random, talking about random things, and I said, ‘great,’ you know, ‘talk to my staff,’ and boom, boom, boom. That’s just normal operating procedure,” Nunes said.

the documents released Friday show extensive interactions between Parnas and Nunes’s aide beginning in early 2019, including sharing op-eds story by conservative columnist John Solomon suggesting the Ukrainians sought to help Hillary Clinton win in 2016.  “Any documents for us or are you going to keep working through Solomon?” Harvey texted back a few days later.

Harvey set up several in-person meetings, including with key individuals around Giuliani who were most involved in the Biden effort. The texts also indicate that Parnas passed information about a Ukrainian prosecutor and a copy of a Ukrainian passport of the tycoon who owns the gas company that placed Biden’s son Hunter on its board. How the copy of the passport was obtained, and what Harvey was planning to do with it, if anything, is unclear.

*

ADVERTISEMENT

In the impeachment case, the information from Parnas, who is facing federal campaign charges, has increased pressure for further investigation – against the wishes of Republican senators who want to dismiss the charges as soon as possible.

But so far, there has been nothing said publicly about steps that the House Intelligence Committee, the House Ethics Committee or the House itself should take against Nunes.

It is bad enough that Trump had a renegade team running around trying to maneuver official foreign policy decisions for his own personal political benefit – regardless of whether a Republican Senate super-majority will find that such behavior is an impeachable abuse of office.

It is almost worse that the president’s chief defender in Congress himself seems to have been involved in the bad behavior. That surely must be over the line.

ADVERTISEMENT

It would be refreshing to hear House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy say so, and assign an ethics investigation against his fellow Republican – without regard to how the impeachment process works out.

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

REVEALED: How a GOP operative used Trump’s hatred of Mueller to help free infamously corrupt governor

Published

on

The Wall Street Journal has published a major new report about how Republican operative Mark Vargas used President Donald Trump's hatred of former special counsel Robert Mueller to wage a years-long public relations battle that culminated in the release of infamously corrupt former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

According to WSJ, Vargas helped get Trump to commute Blagojevich's sentence by writing opinion pieces that cast the former governor as a victim of a "deep state" conspiracy led by Mueller and former FBI Director James Comey.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘An international disgrace’: Trump slammed over ‘incoherent’ India press conference

Published

on

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump took the stage in India for a solo press conference, during which he attacked two Supreme Court justices, lashed out at reporters, claimed that Democrats "loved" film producer and convicted sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, and lied about his motivations for replacing the Director of National Intelligence.

Commenters on social media slammed the president's chaotic and inflammatory remarks.

So clearly Gorsuch and Kavanaugh should recuse themselves from any case involving you because they owe their positions to you... Right?

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump’s corruption of intel community ‘will make it easier for him to lie’: legal experts

Published

on

President Donald Trump struck a decisive blow in his ongoing war against truth by effectively politicizing U.S. intelligence agencies.

He has attacked the intelligence community throughout his presidency, but Trump's ouster of a well-respected acting director of national intelligence in favor of an inexperienced partisan ally shows his intention to corrupt those agencies for personal gain, according to a pair of legal experts writing for The Atlantic.

Continue Reading
 
 
close-image