Much to the delight of Americans who love honesty and competence, Representative Devin Nunes will no longer lead the congressional investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump must be bummed, though.
Politico reports that the California Republican will “temporarily step away” from the House Intelligence Committee probe. A trio of Republicans—Michael Conway from Texas, Trey Growdy from South Carolina, and Tom Rooney of Florida—will take over the investigation. A few minutes after the Politico report, House Speaker Paul Ryan confirmed the news in a statement and alluded to an Ethics Committee review of Nunes’s behavior. Nunes issued his own snotty-sounding statement. It reads, in part:
Several leftwing activist groups have filed accusations against me with the Office of Congressional Ethics. The charges are entirely false and politically motivated, and are being leveled just as the American people are beginning to learn the truth about the improper unmasking of the identities of U.S. citizens and other abuses of power.
Nunes says he’s handing off the reins to the trio of his colleagues “despite the baselessness of the charges” levied by both Democrats and Republicans. It’s currently unclear what role Nunes will play moving forward, though he says that he will continue to fulfill his other duties as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
If you’ve been paying attention to the Nunes saga, you’re probably not surprised by the news that Trump’s stooge in Congress will no longer lead an investigation that could potentially lead to the president’s impeachment. After all, Nunes skirted protocol when he went to the White House to receive intelligence from an unidentified Trump aide. According to Nunes, the source told him that members of Trump’s campaign had been “monitored” during “incidental collection” of communications ahead of the election. Without informing his own party on Capitol Hill, Nunes marched to the White House to inform both the Trump administration as well as the public of this generally unfounded if not entirely incorrect accusation.
Trump later said that he “very much appreciated” Nunes giving him information that his own staffers had given the California congressman. Which is a classic Trump twist, if you think about it. The crispy-faced, glitter bomb of a president had been pushing his accusation that former President Obama had his “wires tapped,” despite the fact that there was no evidence to support this conspiracy theory. FBI director James Comey later said that there was “no information” to support what Trump was saying. And then, in less than a week, Nunes came forward with some information that grabbed headlines for approximately 24 hours before the congressman had to admit that it was maybe not so true. What a goon!
We’ll have to wait and see how the new triumvirate of Republican lawmakers will handle the Russia investigation. It’s hard to imagine them botching the probe worse than Devin Nunes. Then again, anything is possible in 2017.