Devin Nunes Tells The Truth Until It Hurts
Devin Nunes Tells The Truth Until It Hurts By Mollie Hemingway for The Federalist
The more Rep. Devin Nunes was attacked, the more he wanted to understand what was behind the Russia collusion narrative. His opponents couldn’t have been more wrong in how to contain him.
In early December 2016, Devin Nunes was growing suspicious.
The political and media establishment, still struggling to cope with the news of Donald Trump’s victory, was beginning to claim that Russian cyber meddling explained the surprising outcome. On Dec. 9, 2016, big media outlets such as the New York Times and Washington Post began laying out the contours of what would become the dominant and relentless media narrative of the next several years: Trump had conspired with Russia to steal the election and should not be viewed or treated as a legitimate president.
Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), was a long-time Russia hawk who had spent years concerned about the United States’ lack of preparedness for Russian cyberattacks. But something didn’t sit right about the how the media and other activists were arriving at the narrative.
For one thing, the claims were significantly at odds with the official reports from the intelligence agencies his committee oversaw. For another, the press reports were fed solely by dubiously selective and anonymous leaks from intelligence officials.
“I am deeply concerned that these press reports may contain unauthorized disclosures,” Nunes wrote on Dec. 12, 2016, to President Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, instructing him to have intelligence agencies send to Congress any new assessments that had been reported in the press. He expressed concern about the “manipulation of intelligence for political purposes” two days later. By December 16, having received none of the new assessments that anonymous leakers to the press claimed existed, he vowed to vigorously investigate intelligence agencies’ handling of the Russian meddling issue.
He had no idea at the time, but Nunes’s early skepticism of the “Russia collusion” plan to undermine the Trump administration put him in the crosshairs of all of the most powerful forces in Washington, including the media, the Democrat Party, left-wing special interest groups, intelligence agency officials, and even many Republicans.
Nunes’s dogged pursuit of the truth paid off, eventually, but it wasn’t easy. The “Russia collusion” narrative caused untold damage to the Trump administration and its policy goals. It sparked a years-long special counsel probe that pursued scores of Trump associates but found none who had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. Journalists won Pulitzers and other prizes for perpetuating the false narrative. Even now, many Democrats still cling to claims of Trump being controlled by Vladimir Putin.