The New Yorker just released a scathing exposé about the fact that Devin Nunes (R-CA) was used as a pawn in a bigger Republican scandal to give credence to Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that President Obama had his office wiretapped.
Last month, Trump tweeted:
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
After a time-consuming and unnecessary investigation, the FBI duly revealed that there is “no information” to support Trump’s wiretap claim. The White House, desperate to save face, was not satisfied. They moved to manufacture, by any means possible, a way to substantiate these baseless claims.
Per The New Yorker:
The intelligence source told me that he knows, “from talking to people in the intelligence community,” that “the White House said, ‘We are going to mobilize to find something to justify the President’s tweet that he was being surveilled.’ They put out an all-points bulletin”—a call to sift through intelligence reports—“and said, ‘We need to find something that justifies the President’s crazy tweet about surveillance at Trump Tower.’ And I’m telling you there is no way you get that from those transcripts, which are about as plain vanilla as can be.”
That “something” that Republicans were so desperately looking for landed on Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser. Republicans tried to blame Rice for requesting to legally “unmask” names in a surveillance report. Trump even told The New York Times, “I think the Susan Rice thing is a massive story.”
It, of course, was not.
“It is now clear that the scandal was not Rice’s normal review of the intelligence reports but the coordinated effort between the Trump Administration and Nunes to sift through classified information and computer logs that recorded Rice’s unmasking requests, and then leak a highly misleading characterization of those documents, all in an apparent effort to turn Rice, a longtime target of Republicans, into the face of alleged spying against Trump. It was a series of lies to manufacture a fake scandal.”
Nunes has since recused himself from the Russia investigation amid ethics charges being levied against him. Specifically, “Nunes may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information, in violation of House Rules, law, regulations, or other standards of conduct.”
The White House’s goal, though, was to distract, and they were partially successful. That is not to say that further damage wasn’t incurred in doing so. Eric Swalwell, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said:
“They manufactured a scandal to distract from a serious investigation. And the collateral damage is the public confidence in our intelligence community when we need to count on them now more than ever. Considering the threats we are facing right now from North Korea and ISIS, it’s a pretty dangerous time to undermine the I.C.’s credibility to make a five-yard sack in the Russia investigation.”
As the Trump administration and its cronies like Devin Nunes continue to ignore the actual threats facing our nation in favor of political maneuvering, they are not only undermining our democracy, but also putting Americans at risk. By refusing to put country over party, Nunes’ reputation is now as tainted as Trump’s, both of whom are under investigation. While the White House’s continues to employ every tactic at their disposal to distract and confuse, the full truth will come out and Trump will finally be exposed for his treasonous activities.
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Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.