Local newspaper in Devin Nunes’ district wonders: Is our congressman coordinating with Trump during impeachment?

Local newspaper in Devin Nunes’ district wonders: Is our congressman coordinating with Trump during impeachment?
PBS NewsHour

Throughout the public hearings for the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, Rep. Devin Nunes of California has set out to discredit the testimony of witnesses subpoenaed by House Democrats. And Nunes’ relentless defense of Trump during the hearings is leading two reporters for McClatchy Newspapers — whose portfolio includes the Fresno Bee in Nunes’ part of Central California — to wonder if Nunes is coordinating with Trump on an impeachment defense.

In an article published by the Fresno Bee on November 19, Kate Irby and Francesca Chambers note the similarities between Trump’s impeachment-related talking points and Nunes’ assertions during Tuesday’s testimony. Nunes, the reporters point out, asserted, “Americans have learned to recognize fake news when they see it, and if the mainstream press won’t give it to them straight, they’ll go elsewhere to find it — which is exactly what the American people are doing.”

Nunes, Irby and Chambers observe, also sounded very Trumpian when, on Tuesday, he expressed his desire to know the identity of the Ukraine whistleblower — inspiring House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff to call him out and assert that he wouldn’t tolerate the whistleblower’s identity being revealed.

“Nunes’ focus during the hearings has closely matched Trump’s own defense of his actions, and some details within the impeachment hearings suggest Nunes could be coordinating with the White House,” Irby and Chambers report. “The president, like Nunes, has disparaged the news media and demanded the public disclosure of the whistleblower’s identity.”

In their article, Irby and Chambers also note how similar to Nunes Trump’s statements were on Tuesday — when, at a cabinet meeting, the president asserted, “We have a very corrupt media, and I hope they can get their act straightened out because it’s very, very bad and very, very dangerous for our country.”

The Trump White House, Irby and Chambers explain, “has no formal participation in the Capitol Hill hearings, making the president totally reliant on Nunes and Republican lawmakers like Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan to push Trump’s message in the televised question-and-answer session.”

“Other hints about Nunes’ coordination with the White House include Nunes at an open hearing last week reading from a printed copy of an April call between Trump and (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky just minutes after the White House released a rough transcript of the conversation,” the Fresno Bee reporters observe. Irby, who is based in Washington, D.C., covers politics for McClatchy’s California publications — which include the Fresno Bee as well as the Sacramento Bee and the Modesto Bee. Nunes has filed a lawsuit against McClatchy, which has denounced the lawsuit as a “cynical maneuver to score cheap political points.”

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