When Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, took the unpresidented, sorry, unprecedented step of briefing the White House on his committee’s investigation of the White House, there was justifiable outrage in Washington and outside the Beltway. Perhaps no one was more outraged, or with greater justification, that Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the Committee.
As best as can be determined from Rep. Nune’s press conference and other sources, he had come into information that shows that members of the Trump transition team were caught speaking with targets of federal warrants, possibly FISA warrants, in incidental intelligence gathering. In other words, the Trump people were NOT the targets, but were communicating with individuals who were.
While Nunes apparently shared this information with Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump, he has thus far failed to reveal his intel to either his Democratic counterpart Rep. Schiff or even the Republican members of his committee. It should be noted, emphatically, that Rep. Nunes was himself a member of the Trump transition team. When he scurried off to the White House, was he trying to protect Trump, or was he worried about covering his own ass?
Following the debacle that occurred on Monday when FBI Director Comey essentially accused Donald Trump of lying when he claimed that the Obama administration had directly wiretapped his campaign and transition team, Nunes’s actions serve only to raise further suspicions about the charges of collusion between Team Trump and Russia.
Members of Congress, including Republicans, issued immediate demands for Rep. Nunes to either recuse himself from the investigation, resign, or that an independent, bi-partisan commission investigate the Trump/Russia ties.
Rep. Schiff issued the following statement yesterday afternoon upon learning about Nunes’s actions
Today, Chairman Nunes shared information with WH still withheld from our committee. He cannot conduct a credible investigation this way. pic.twitter.com/wwrp7H7JWC
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) March 22, 2017
Mr. Schiff then decided to take the gloves off. When MSNBC reporter Chuck Todd asked him about a statement made Sunday’s Meet The Press program that the investigation into the Trump/Russia ties was a “circumstantial case” Schiff replied, “Actually, no, Chuck. I can tell you that the case is more than that. And I can’t go into the particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now.”
Respected national security expert John Schindler, provided the following comment on a report by CNN.com
The TS intel is devastating, as I've told you. Trump will be forced out & his cronies will be indicted. Get ready.https://t.co/3rcmSEziYm
— John Schindler (@20committee) March 23, 2017
Then today Time Magazine published a rambling, at times incoherent, interview with Donald Trump. Essentially it boiled down to Trump refusing to retract any of his lies, including the absurd claim that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of JFK. The cover of the magazine consisted of just three words on a red background “Is Truth Dead?”
Trump smugly seemed more concerned about the notion that he had appeared on the cover of Time more than anyone else [nope, Richard Nixon has him beat by a country mile] than the fact that his administration is going to hell in a hand basket. He ended his interview by listing all the problems facing our country and then made what could be the most outlandish statement of his entire life
“Hey look, in the mean time, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president and you’re not.”
Our country could be facing its greatest Constitutional crisis since Watergate. A crisis that is far worse than Watergate as it involves the possibility that treason was committed by one or more of Trump’s associates, or even Trump himself. If John Schindler’s assessment of the intel is true, then the days are numbered when Trump can make a statement like the one above.
We have already seen Trump’s attorney general having to recuse himself from the investigation before he even got the seat warm in his office. Rep. Nunes has destroyed his credibility and most likely the credibility of the entire committee. Perhaps because they are political neophytes, Trump and his cronies fail to realize the gravity of the crisis they are facing. If they believe that a Republican Congress owes them more than they do their constituents, they are seriously mistaken.
At the very least, there will be a bi-partisan committee to investigate the Trump/Russia ties. It is entirely possible that the Justice Department will be forced, due to serious conflicts of interest, to appoint a special prosecutor. But whatever happens, as Trump’s approval ratings continue to plummet, it is going to be all downhill from here on out.