If you thought the hype and hysteria around the crafting, promotion and release of the classified Republican memo attacking the FBI caused a circus, just wait for what Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) has in store for his next move.
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Rep. Nunes has been the most high profile saboteur in congress in President Donald Trump’s ongoing wrecking ball of a plot to discredit the multiple investigations into the Trump campaign and whether they colluded with Russian intelligence to undermine the 2016 presidential election.
In a highly public and comically transparent maneuver, Nunes wrote and then engineered the release of a classified memo detailing what he deemed were abuses by the FBI to obtain a surveillance warrant on a one-time member of the Trump campaign, despite strenuous objections by his own Department of Justice and Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Not content with throwing our nation’s federal law enforcement and intelligence communities under the bus to protect the president, Rep. Nunes seems to think he can dragoon Supreme Court justices to preside over his very own kangaroo court to convict senior FBI and Justice Department officials of… well… no one is sure of what, exactly.
Speaking to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Wednesday, Rep. Nunes was asked if he planned to involve the courts to adjudicate the specious allegations advanced in his memo, to which he responded, “There is a, there’s a debate now into whether we just send it to the Supreme Court or to send it to the FISA Court,” he said, referring to a letter he and his committee have drafted.
Asked specifically about calling Chief Justice John Roberts to testify before Congress, Rep. Nunes responded, “This is something that we grappled with”
Chief Justice Roberts oversees appointments of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges, the men and women who hear requests for surveillance warrants made by counter intelligence agencies like the FBI. Rep. Nunes and Republicans think his testimony might bolster their claims outlined in their now infamous memo that the FBI lied to the courts to obtain a warrant on Carter Page during the waning days of the Obama Administration.
Those allegations have been utterly rebuked by the memo itself, ironically. Despite alleging FBI abuses, the memo ultimately makes clear that the FBI disclosed all relevant information to the courts in their applications for the warrant, and that the much-attacked Steele dossier played no role in the application for the original warrant on Carter Page, and only served as a supplement during a hearing for the warrant’s third extension.
Still, Rep. Nunes and Republicans are undeterred, and they’re pressing ahead with the ruse first perpetrated in their memo.
“We decided that we wanted to complete the FISA abuse portion before we approached the courts,” Nunes continued to explain to Hewitt. “Our next step with the courts is to make them aware, if they’re not aware already that this happened by watching the news. So we will be sending a letter to the court.”
Rep. Nunes and Republicans would love nothing more than someone of Chief Justice Roberts’ stature strutting his way into the witness chair of a nationally televised intelligence committee hearing to rubber stamp the partisan, out-of-context allegations in their memo. There’s just one little obstacle blocking this fantasy of theirs from becoming a reality: The U.S. Constitution.
“This is something that we have, like I said, we have thought a lot about this. And the answer is we don’t know the correct way to proceed because of the separation of powers issue,” Rep. Nunes admitted.
Oh yeah, that little ‘separation of powers’ thing. Rep. Nunes speaks of the three co-equal branches of government and their counterbalancing rolls implementing the Constitution’s system of checks and balances like they’re a legal nuisance you find in the small print of an appliance warranty he’s trying to bypass to get a new washing machine. This from a man from the party that claims a monopoly on revering and comprehending what our Founding Fathers wrote and meant.
The prospect of Chief Justice Roberts, or any other justice for that matter, accepting an invitation to partake in Rep. Nunes’ dog and pony show is somewhere between zero and none, something Nunes readily conceded in the same interview.
“I’m aware of members of Congress going to the Supreme Court and having coffee with the judges, just to shoot the bull. I’m aware of, you know, dinners where congressmen have been with Supreme Court justices. But I’m not aware of any time where a judge has, for lack of a better term, testified before the Congress,” he admitted.
Nunes coordinated the release of the memo with the White House, and Fox News and other conservative media hyped it for weeks as a document that would force special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to be shut down.
Publicly discussing this ridiculous plan to involve the courts and somehow turn the partisan allegations in the memo into a legal case against senior FBI and Justice Department officials is nothing more than a desperate attempt to keep the story in the news a little bit longer.