On Thursday, the House impeachment inquiry completed its last scheduled hearings. However, following a revelation on Friday, it seems necessary that there be at least one more day of questioning. And there shouldn’t be any difficulty getting the witness to appear, because he’s been there every day of the hearings, slouching on the Republican side of the aisle, playing games on his phone. Devin Nunes is in this thing up to his bulging eyeballs.
On Friday, CNN reported that the ranking Republic member of the House Intelligence Committee traveled to Vienna in 2018 to meet with disgraced Ukrainian prosecutor Victor Shokin. Nunes made this trip for the express purpose of gathering manufactured dirt that could be used against Joe Biden in the upcoming election. In other words—even as Nunes has been sitting there talking about what a “farce” it is to suggest that Trump was soliciting foreign officials to intervene in the 2020 election, Nunes was doing precisely that on Trump’s behalf.
Which explains why the tags #DevinNunesIsCompromised, #DevinNunesGotCaught, and #DirtyDevin topped the charts on Twitter overnight.
Shokin is the same prosecutor who Biden demanded be removed from office in 2016; not because he was investigating the company where Hunter Biden was on the board, as Trump and Republicans keep stating, but precisely because he was not conducting an investigation. The reason Biden made Shokin’s removal a condition of U.S. aid was because he was not just a corrupt prosecutor protecting other corrupt officials, he was also refusing to cooperate with international investigations and making it impossible for either the U.S. or European allies to look into cases of money laundering originating in Ukraine. By asking for Shokin’s removal, Biden was not only following U.S. policy and supporting allies, but potentially placing his son’s job in peril by replacing the hands-off Shokin with someone who actually might conduct an investigation.
Devin Nunes went to talk to this corrupt prosecutor to gather lies about Joe Biden. And not only was Nunes going to talk to the same corrupt officials that Rudy Giuliani was soliciting to build his narrative against the Bidens, the news of his trip comes directly from one of Giuliani’s now-indicted partners in crime.
On Thursday Nunes fluttered his very own Russia report in the face of Fiona Hill, a renowned Russia expert who has not only served as the NSC’s top resource on Eastern Europe but written a book on the psychology of Vladimir Putin. Nunes was just one of a series of Republicans who engaged in a epic, tag-team man-splaining effort designed to shield the fact that, yes, absolutely, Republicans on the committee have been working to support a conspiracy theory explicitly designed to exonerate Russia of involvement in the 2016 campaign.
Republicans have certainly done their share to uphold the other conspiracy theory that Trump pushed by repeatedly bringing up Joe or Hunter Biden as if there was some misdeed to be investigated. But now it’s apparent that Nunes did more than just bring talking points for his CT game. Nunes was actually on the ground a whole year ago, working to provide Trump with precisely the false attacks he wanted to hurt Biden’s potential as a candidate.
On Friday, an attorney for Lev Parnas—one of two now indicted partners of Giuliani who illegally funneled money from foreign sources into Republican campaigns—reported that Parnas would testify that Nunes went to Vienna in December 2018 to meet with Shokin.
And that’s not the end of it. Parnas, whose role in the Ukraine scheme was helping Giuliani make contact with Ukrainians willing to play along with the schemes to finger Biden and Hillary Clinton, apparently served the same role for Nunes. His attorney states that he put Nunes in touch with multiple sources, not just Shokin. It’s unclear at this point just how many trips Nunes made, or how many sources he tapped in an effort to support these disproven claims.
All the time Nunes has been sitting in the inquiry, pretending to disbelief about Trump soliciting foreign officials to interfere in the upcoming election, Nunes knew that he had done the same thing, with the same people. It wasn’t just Rudy Giuliani acting as Trump’s agent in Ukraine to disrupt policy and collect disinformation that could be used to upset a U.S. election — it was Devin Nunes.
Maybe it’s time to remember that those Russia reports Nunes was waving around on Thursday aren’t really valuable for the whitewash they provide when it comes to Russian interference, but they are valuable as reminders that the tactics he used in authoring that Trump-exoneration forced Nunes to step down from his role heading the Russia investigation in the House and face an ethics investigation.
In that case, a Republican majority Ethics Committee eventually slapped a hasty approval on Nunes’ actions, even though Nunes was lying to the press, and to other members of the committee, about the secret sources of supposed information. The truth was that Nunes was working directly with the Trump team to undermine and sideline the investigation, resulting in a report whose purpose had nothing to do with finding the truth.
The House inquiry needs to convene for another day of hearings, where Nunes can diddle with his phone on the other side of the table for a change, and explain how he was pretending to only investigate something he was actively engaged in doing personally. Then he can go back to the ethics committee — and it won’t be a cake walk this time.
Published with permission from Daily Kos.