House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Ca) rejected reports that say the intelligence community has evidence of Trump campaign officials communicating with Russian operatives during the election. Nunes said Monday that he was not privy to anything of that nature, though he did leave open the possibility that such evidence existed.
“As of right now, I don’t have any evidence of any phone calls,” he said. “It doesn’t mean they don’t exist. What I’ve been told by many folks is that there’s nothing there.”
Nunes said that he would be reluctant to bring the investigative powers of Congress to bear on private citizens like Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone without seeing something more significant.
“At this time, I want to be very careful that we can’t just go on a witch hunt against Americans because they appear in news stories,” he said.
Nunes insisted that while it was important for Congress to investigate Russia’s cyberattacks on the DNC, it was just as important to identify and prosecute those individuals within the government who were leaking classified information to the media.
“There’s been major crimes committed,” Nunes said. “What I’m concerned about is no one focusing on major leaks that have occurred here. We can’t run a government like this. A government can’t function with massive leaks at the highest level.”
He also offered an impassioned defense of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, saying it was “ridiculous” to suggest he be charged under the Logan Act for discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador. Nunes, in fact, said that Americans should be “thanking” Flynn for “keeping the lines of communication” open with Moscow. He derided the sanctions in question as Obama’s “petty” revenge for costing Hillary Clinton the election.
Nunes’s comments will undoubtedly send the Democrats into another round of apoplectics, so get ready for that spectacle. Of course, if the intelligence community actually does have evidence showing that Page, Manafort, and Stone were talking to the Russians, we guess there will be another leak in 3…2…1…
And about those leaks, Nunes and Trump are absolutely correct. They can’t convey the true gravity of the situation because it looks like they’re just being defensive, but it really is a problem. And in today’s political climate, where journalists no longer have any sense of what they should and shouldn’t publish, it could be especially dangerous to our national security. Government transparency is a good thing; an endless stream of semi-true, sensitive stories from anonymous sources is not. No presidency can survive this constant wall of outrageous attacks, and it’s high time the Democrats recognize that their myth-making about Trump is more destructive to our democracy than anything Trump has ever done.
Get to work and stop campaigning.