Rep. Nunes should resign

Published 11:18 am Friday, March 24, 2017

It all started with yet another dishonest Trump tweet, claiming that President Barack Obama “wire tapped” Trump Tower during the presidential election last year.

That claim has been disposed of by the U.S. intelligence community, congressional leaders and the congressional intelligence committees.

It never happened. President Trump lied.

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It was a very serious lie, charging that a former president may have committed a felony. And it was made as carelessly as attacking Meryl Streep as “overrated,” or claiming U.S. Sen. John McCain was not a war hero because he was captured.

This past Monday, FBI Director Comey laid to rest entirely the Trump claim by stating unequivocally that there was no surveillance of candidate Trump, or President-elect Trump. But, this president is known to never admit he is wrong, so, in character, Trump claimed the facts did not matter and he was still right.

That was, of course, a laughable assertion in the face of the facts. Then a surprise defender came to, in some bizarre fashion, attempt to somehow defend the president.

House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes went to the White House, spoke to the president and appeared on camera to make several dense and inarticulate assertions somehow intended to support the Trump false claims.

Nunes conceded that there was no evidence to support Trump’s actual claim that he was wire tapped by Obama at Trump Tower. That should have ended his statement, but it did not.

Nunes went on to say that he had information from a source he identified as a “whistleblower,” who informed him that some of the Trump transition team were captured in legally authorized (likely FISA authorized) intercepts, and that the contacts appeared to be “incidental.” Nunes then argued that the names of these individuals were circulated within the Intelligence community and some names were unmasked.

Breaking down Chairman Nunes’ charges, if there was a FISA warrant (the legal basis) then being caught “incidentally” would mean that someone in the exchange was being surveilled, if not the Trump transition team member. That suggests contact, if counterintelligence, with a person or persons who may pose a threat to the United States by the Trump transition member.

Circulation of FISA warrant-identified individuals is common practice, as sharing intel is encouraged and, in some cases, required. Regarding what Nunes termed “unmasking,” Minority Chair U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff stated that it was Nunes who unmasked individuals, claiming he could identify the unnamed individuals by the activities described within the documents.

All of this does nothing to support the Trump false claim that he was wire tapped by President Obama at Trump Tower. He was not.

But it does leave several important questions:

Nunes, in committee on Monday, wanted to focus upon “leakers” in the government and fine and imprison them. Three days later, he uses a leaker, who he re-names a whistleblower, to serve his own purpose.

There are rules for the release of FISA information and those rules require a judge to pre-approve any release of FISA content. Nunes appears to have violated this law.

On Monday, FBI Director James Comey publically named the Trump administration as under federal investigation. Nunes went to a party under federal investigation and revealed what is likely classified information related to an ongoing investigation.

Nunes, who was a member of the Trump transition team, has, at the very least, destroyed any perception of his objectivity and his ability to lead the House investigation of the Russia/Trump connection. Moreover, Nunes has likely violated the law in exposing FISA materials and in informing a party under investigation of facts related to the investigation.

Congressman Nunes, you must surrender your chairmanship immediately, and you should resign from congress for your obvious inability to protect U.S. classified information.


Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.