GOP Representative Devin Nunes seems to have been caught as the man leaking information about private messages sent by Dem Senator Mark Warner, according to a story breaking today in the New York Times.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were behind the leak of private text messages between the Senate panel’s top Democrat and a Russian-connected lawyer, according to two congressional officials briefed on the matter.
Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the committee’s Republican chairman, and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat, were so perturbed by the leak that they demanded a rare meeting with Speaker Paul D. Ryan last month to inform him of their findings. They used the meeting with Mr. Ryan to raise broader concerns about the direction of the House Intelligence Committee under its chairman, Representative Devin Nunes of California, the officials said.
To the senators, who are overseeing what is effectively the last bipartisan investigation on Capitol Hill into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the leak was a serious breach of protocol and a partisan attack by one intelligence committee against the other.
The messages between Mr. Warner and Adam Waldman, a Washington lawyer, show that the senator tried for weeks to arrange a meeting with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who assembled a dossier of salacious claims about connections between Mr. Trump, his associates and Russia. The Senate committee has had difficulty making contact with Mr. Steele, whom it views as a key witness. And Mr. Waldman, who knew Mr. Steele, presented himself as a willing partner.
President Trump had a good Twitter time with the leaked messages, saying,
Wow! -Senator Mark Warner got caught having extensive contact with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch. Warner did not want a “paper trail” on a “private” meeting (in London) he requested with Steele of fraudulent Dossier fame. All tied into Crooked Hillary.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2018
Devin Nunes and the GOP majority of the House Intelligence Committee, as you may recall, unilaterally and over FBI objection published the majority report of its investigation, then attempted and partially succeeded in blocking the Dem minority report. That document was finally published in a heavily redacted form.
As the New York Times reported,
The three-and-a-half-page memo, written by Republican congressional aides, criticized information used by law enforcement officials in their application for a warrant to wiretap the former campaign adviser, Carter Page, and named the senior F.B.I. and Justice Department officials who approved the highly classified application.
But it fell well short of making the case promised by some Republicans: that the evidence it contained would cast doubt on the origins of the Russia investigation and possibly undermine the inquiry, which has been taken over by a special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. The Page warrant is just one aspect of the broader investigation.
Instead, the document confirmed that contacts between a former Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, and Russian intermediaries were a primary factor in the opening of the investigation in July 2016.
Nunes was also the man who was seen going into the White House at night, no one is quite sure why. He had to recuse himself from the Russia investigation due to accusations of leaking, but remains Chair of the Intelligence Committee.
Who is Devin Nunes anyway?
He is the son of farmers, of Portuguese descent, and holds degrees in agriculture. His district is in central California, rural, conservative and Republican. He seems to be very popular. He is a global warming denier, and once claimed that California did not have a water shortage. He’s been a representative since the age of 29.
My personal opinion, for what it’s worth, is that he’s a Trump stalwart who’s not very bright. He’s gotten himself in trouble before and probably will again.