House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes called a press conference a little while ago to announce that he intended to commit a blatant act of criminal obstruction of justice with respect to the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of Trump and Trump associates’ connections to the Russians’ interference in our presidential election. Nunes began by declaring that President-Elect Trump’s personal communications may have been intercepted during the Transition due to “incidental collection” during an unrelated, completely legal and FISA-approved investigation.
He then said that the potential surveillance was not related to Russia, that it wasn’t clear that it was collected at Trump Tower and that he was “alarmed by it.”
He further stated that he had advised House Speaker Paul Ryan of his findings and that he was traveling to the White House this afternoon to share with them information that had been provided to him by the FBI in a classified setting for the purposes of advancing a congressional investigation into potential crimes committed by the people he will be meeting in the White House.
Nunes also revealed that said “he discovered the potential surveillance of Trump himself while reviewing intelligence reports,” but he did not divulge that he kept his discovery from the Democrats on the committee who “appeared blindsided by Nunes’ announcement.”
[Democrat] Rep. Jim Himes [of Connecticut] said he spoke with ranking Democratic member Adam Schiff, and that neither of them are familiar with the evidence Nunes is citing.
To be clear, “Nunes said the collection included Trump transition officials and that it happened after the election. He said he could not say whether it meant that Trump was ‘spied on.’”
“I’m not going to get into legal definitions.” he said.
When Nunes arrives at the White House and begins sharing information about which Transition officials were captured on “incidental surveillance,” he will be committing what appears to be an obvious crime.
He claims that the surveillance is unrelated to Russia, and that may be his only criminal defense. He better hope that it will stand up in court. His press conference performance was a dishonest attempt to suggest that perhaps Trump wasn’t completely wrong when he said that Trump Tower was wiretapped at the behest of President Obama. He couldn’t assert either of those things but he made it seem like he had evidence pointing in that direction.
And his failure to share this information with the Democrats or notify them that he would be holding the press conference shows just how disingenuous his “alarm” really is.
But it’s his intent to share classified investigatory information with the subjects of a counterintelligence (and potentially criminal) probe that constitutes a crime. He must not be very bright. And he’s just destroyed his own committee’s investigation.