As more bad news rolls out for Donald Trump and his best friend Vladimir Putin, who should step up to run interference but Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Select Intelligence Committee, with claims that intelligence was collected on the Trump transition team via "incidental collection."
Incidental collection is the term used for communications intercepted under a FISA warrant on foreign actors which involve American citizens. We actually were able to infer that such collection occurred when news broke that Michael Flynn had five phone calls with the Russian embassy on the very same day that President Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for their interference in the 2016 election.
But Nunes felt it necessary to grandstand. Before informing Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking member of his committee, he went before the press to make his claims before promising to brief the White House.
Make no mistake. This is plain, simple, grandstanding and smoke-blowing to give Trump cover for the specious claims he made about the "bad, sick" acts of former President Obama.
Based upon this, it's clear we need an independent prosecutor and Nunes should immediately recuse himself or even resign as chairman of that panel.
Here is some of the reaction to the story:
Bottom line here: Devin Nunes is impeding a federal investigation by going public with this information in a desperate effort to discredit the FBI Director, who actually testified that incidental collection did happen in his hearing on Monday.
It's a ridiculous, desperate effort to blow some smoke over all of the terrible news coming out of Washington, DC today.
Now what? Devin Nunes must immediately be removed as chair of this committee, because he served as part of the Trump transition team, and because this is an effort to obstruct justice by using unauthorized leaks to tank the investigation. He is then sharing the fruits of these unauthorized leaks with the White House, where members are still under scrutiny.
Finally, this demands the appointment of an independent prosecutor who stands apart from the political drives of ambitious Republicans. That needs to happen NOW.
Update: John Schindler thinks criminal things have happened here.
I'm old enough to remember when Trump was outraged at the mere possibility that there was classified information in Hillary Clinton's emails.