Devin Nunes Has Turned the House Intelligence Committee Into an Oppo Research Center

Perhaps you remember a Republican attempt from a few weeks ago to invent a scandal about Sen. Mark Warner. The basic story was that Warner had tried to set up a meeting with bogeyman Christopher Steele of “dossier” fame, and … um, that was about it. It was never quite clear why this might be a scandal, but when your scandals tend to look like a serial killer’s bulletin board I suppose that every little bit helps:

Anyway, Warner is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and as Marco Rubio confirmed, Warner had already told them all about this. It turns out that Warner had sent text messages to Washington lawyer Adam Waldman asking him to arrange the meeting, and Waldman had turned over the texts to the committee. Then, somehow, those texts got leaked to Fox News. But how? Here’s Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times:

In January, one of [Devin] Nunes’s staff members requested that copies be shared with the House committee as well…

Ah. Devin Nunes. Of course. Anyway, it turns out the original texts had page numbers on them, but the copies handed over to Nunes didn’t. Guess which ones Fox News had?

The Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were behind the leak….Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the committee’s Republican chairman, and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat, were so perturbed by the leak that they demanded a rare meeting with Speaker Paul D. Ryan last month to inform him of their findings.

….AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Mr. Ryan, released a statement after this article was published, saying, “The speaker heard the senators on their concerns and encouraged them to take them up directly with their counterparts.”

In other words, Ryan couldn’t care less. And needless to say, Nunes doesn’t care either since he’s the one who leaked the stuff in the first place. This is what the House Intelligence Committee has become: basically an R&D center for producing inane oppo research in service of Donald Trump’s latest conspiracy theories. Nice work, guys.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate