Congressman Devin Nunes is in trouble again. His committee staffers are under fire for the way they characterized a closed door meeting with Department of Justice officials that included Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein earlier this year.
Fox News reported the account given by Republican staffers, and the DOJ is fighting back. This is just the latest escalation in the long running feud that Rep. Nunes has cooked-up with the Justice Department to distract the public from the ongoing investigations into President Trump.
The California Republican lawmaker has used his power as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee not to support the DOJ’s counterintelligence investigation into the Kremlin’s operation to undermine the 2016 presidential election and tip the scales in Trump’s favor, but to obstruct their efforts and run interference for President Trump.
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He’s already been caught colluding with the White House to launder classified intelligence in a pathetic attempt to publicly bolster some of President Trump’s wild conspiracy theories. That tragically comedic maneuver forced him to briefly recuse himself from overseeing his committee’s investigation.
The bulk of his time, however, has been spent making a very public show perpetrating a manufactured feud with the DOJ, threatening to impeach Rosenstein and his assistants and appearing on Fox News to spread the president’s counter narrative that the special counsel’s investigation is either corrupt or illegitimate.
And while he’s had choice words for former FBI Director James Comey and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, to name just a few, the Deputy AG has been his favorite whipping boy because he oversees the Special Counsel’s investigation. Pressure him, their thinking must go, and you could possibly force him to squash the entire Trump-Russia probe.
Rosenstein, for his part, has refused to engage Rep. Nunes publicly. His virtual silence on the issue is the surest sign that he comprehends the gravity of the special counsel’s investigation and the seriousness of his role overseeing it. But it’s also meant he’s had to take a near weekly rhetorical beating from the president, Rep. Nunes, and their allies in Congress and the right wing media.
Until now. Rosenstein is finally fighting back. CNN reported late Tuesday that he is preparing to launch an investigation into Republican staffers on Rep. Nunes’ committee for mischaracterizing their meeting.
“The Deputy Attorney General never threatened anyone in the room with a criminal investigation,” the official said. “The FBI Director, the senior career ethics adviser for the Department, and the Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs who were all present at this meeting are all quite clear that the characterization of events laid out here is false.
“The Deputy Attorney General was making the point — after being threatened with contempt — that as an American citizen charged with the offense of contempt of Congress, he would have the right to defend himself, including requesting production of relevant emails and text messages and calling them as witnesses to demonstrate that their allegations are false,” the official continued.
Sadly, this probably won’t deter Nunes from trying these dirty tricks in the future. But at least it will show him and his fellow fan boys of the president that the Department of Justice is done playing games.