'Unscrupulous sycophant and unhinged partisan': Conservative writer tears into Devin Nunes' 'bumbling' defense of Trump

'Unscrupulous sycophant and unhinged partisan': Conservative writer tears into Devin Nunes' 'bumbling' defense of Trump
Gage Skidmore
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

After Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation without charging President Donald Trump or his allies of conspiring with the Russian government, many Republicans have been quick to claim victory and attack the very premises of the investigation. Among those believed to be vindicated is Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the Trump devotee and former chair of the House Intelligence Committee who did everything he could to divert the body's investigation of Russian election interference and to turn attention to other fabricated controversies.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, for one, said, “Devin Nunes was proven correct. That’s what the report says. We should praise him.”

But as conservative columnist Max Boot with the Washington Post argued, Nunes has, in fact, been completely discredited and shown to be an "unscrupulous sycophant and unhinged partisan."

Boot noted that, despite McCarthy's claims, Nunes' wild assertions about the Russia investigation have been proven wrong over and over again. For example:

  • He claimed there was no clear evidence in December 2016 that Russia interfered in the election at all. In fact, the intelligence had unanimously concluded that the Kremlin targeted the election even before the campaigns ended, and those conclusions have only been bolstered repeatedly since the initial findings.
  • In February 2017, he said that the evidence led him to believe there were "no contacts" between the Trump campaign and Russia; we now know there were over 100, including several that Mueller's report includes as examples of the Russia-linked people trying to coordinate with the campaign.
  • Nunes fed the right-wing theory that President Barack Obama had somehow wiretapped Trump, which morphed into unfounded claims that Obama officials had nefariously "unmasked" the names of figures caught up in intelligence investigations. None of these claims have been substantiated, and Nunes was even pressured to back off from the committee's investigation after it was revealed he was spreading misleading information leaked from White House aides.

Boot also noted:

In April 2018, Nunes and the other committee Republicans put out a report claiming there was “no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government.” Nunes may think he is now vindicated, but he’s wrong. All that Barr’s summary said was that Mueller could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump and his aides engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia. That’s very different from claiming there was “no evidence” of “collusion.”

Compared to the current chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Nunes is a "bumbling political hit man who can’t shoot straight," said Boot.

"Only in the Bizarro 'wrong is right' world inhabited by Trump and his cult followers could anyone imagine that Nunes has been vindicated and Schiff discredited," he concluded. "In the real world, Schiff is a serious legislator and Nunes is a laughingstock."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.