On Monday, Rep. Devin Nunes let it be known that he would be retiring from the House in order to become CEO of something called “Truth Social,” which is supposedly a new social media platform owned by Donald Trump. As Fox News put it, Nunes “got a job offer that he can’t refuse—CEO of a new Trump media org.” In other words, Nunes isn’t really changing jobs. Just titles.
That Nunes would decide to leave Congress and pursue this “opportunity” might be surprising, as Republicans keep expressing their certainty about taking control of the House following elections next November. Even barring other consequences of such a victory, that would have positioned Nunes as the chair of the Ways and Means Committee, making him one of the most powerful politicians in the nation. Nunes has always been eager to demonstrate to Trump that he places what’s good for Trump over what’s good for the Republican Party, and certainly over anything so abstract as the health of American democracy. Even so, this seems like an extreme when it comes to taking Trump over everything.
On the other hand, in historical terms, Nunes may have simply found the role of Joseph Goebbels more interesting than that of Hermann Göring. As the last head of the Reichstag, Göring’s task mostly involved voting away his own powers, dusting the last signs of representative democracy into the trash bin, and turning off the lights. Goebbels not only got to lie all he wanted, but for fun and profit, he also got to be Chancellor of all Germany. For a day.
That the news is talking about the retirement of Devin Nunes, rather than pointing back to his expulsion from the House years ago, is a huge signpost on the road to how we got into the current state. A timeline of Nunes’ actions in connection with the investigation of Donald Trump’s ties to Russia is marked by events that all should be subtitled “a step too far.”
Highlights of this journey include the points when:
Nunes leapt from an Uber car in mid-trip, leaving behind an intelligence staffer, and showed up at Paul Ryan’s office a few hours later to reveal he had uncovered astounding information about a conspiracy to bring down Donald Trump, and how President Obama had “spied” on Trump and his campaign.
Nunes followed this up the next day with a whole series of press conferences. He let slip that his “evidence” consisted primarily of conversations where the FBI ran into Trump campaign members while monitoring Russian intelligence assets.
Even so, Nunes made a show of marching to the White House to give Donald Trump a closed-door briefing on the information he had uncovered from unknown sources. Nunes then prepared a top-secret memo, which he refused to share with Democrats, that supposedly detailed the nefarious actions taken against Trump.
A week later, it was revealed that the source of information Nunes had reported to the White House, and only the White House, was … the White House. Specifically, it came from a member of Trump’s own legal staff and a protégé of disgraced general Michael Flynn, who worked together with Nunes in an attempt to turn the fact that Trump’s team had been chatting with Russian operatives into a positive.
That same day, Nunes lied about then FBI Director James Comey refusing to speak to the House Committee. Which only cemented the fact that, rather than actually investigating the Trump-Russia connection, Nunes was using his position to interfere with any investigation, helping Trump cover-up his actions, and derailing any possible investigation.
Nunes then was forced to “step aside” from his role as his colleagues in Congress, including at least one Republican, forwarded charges against him to the Ethics Committee.
In a lame-duck session hastily arranged at the end of the year, Nunes was gifted with a reprieve through the votes of Republicans on the Ethics Committee who had already announced their retirement. Republicans also hurried out a report that absolved Trump from doing anything wrong back to conception and announced that they were ending all pretense of doing an investigation.
Republicans continue to behave as though this was the last word on Trump-Russia, while completely ignoring the fact that the Senate Intelligence Committee, under a Republican chair, issued a comprehensive report confirming every serious charge against Trump’s campaign, including over 100 contacts with Russian operatives, eager cooperation and sharing of information, and requests for expanded Russian assistance. (And why shouldn’t Republicans ignore it … the press did.)
Freed from any responsibility, Nunes went on to embarrass himself with an attempt to persuade foreign intelligence chiefs to back Trump’s conspiracy claims. Having paved the way for later visits by Bill Barr and John Durham on that front, Nunes went on to grease the path for Rudy Giuliani, by visiting Ukraine and working one-on-one with corrupt pro-Russian officials. That included somehow spreading around $63,000 in a four-day trip. Apparently, Nunes is a big tipper.
Nunes aide Kash Patel carried on with the backstage pressure on Ukraine, which eventually earned Patel a spot as chief of staff to the Secretary of Defense, a position as the man in charge of preventing Joe Biden from receiving the requisite intelligence briefings after the election, and a subpoena from the House Select Committee over his part in the Jan. 6 insurgency.
Most of this was before Nunes became famous for suing a cartoon cow—a situation that deservedly earned a lot of jeers but is a lot less funny than it seems. Especially when that effort included Nunes being joined by the Department of Justice.
Undercutting elections; lying to the press, the public, and his colleagues; destroying relations with allies; undermining U.S. intelligence; using the legal system to attack his critics—Devin Nunes really does define the perfect Trump wannabe. He’ll certainly have no problem putting his morals aside to shape up Trump’s social media platform … though he may need a microscope to locate them.
Even so, Devin Nunes is giving up a shot at one of the key positions in Washington, a role in which he’d be positioned to barter for and against items that would fit the Republican agenda. That’s an amazing move for someone just a year out from something everyone seems to believe is inevitable.
This suggests that either Nunes is not all that confident about Republicans winning in 2022 or that there’s something he’s been hiding that’s likely to come out in the next few months. And it’s absolutely not a cow.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.