House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) didn’t exactly have a great week last week.
As we briefly summarized yesterday, Rep. Nunes was skewered for telling the Trump White House about info that might’ve been incidentally picked up by domestic surveillance without sharing that info with committee Democrats.
Rep. Nunes steadily backed away from that allegation, which might’ve gained him some favor with committee members such as Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), but then he canceled a second public hearing with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers, which led to Democrats saying that Rep. Nunes was attempting to “suicide bomb” investigations into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with alleged Russian hackers during the 2016 election. Rep. Schiff went so far as to say that Rep. Nunes should recuse himself from Trump/Russia investigations. Rep. Nunes insisted the meetings would still happen, but now it appears that it’ll be a bit of a wait before we see another public hearing from the House Intelligence Committee about alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 election.
Such moves haven’t just pissed off Democrats in Congress—they’ve also led to mounting criticism from Senate Republicans, such as John McCain, who said the Russia probe “needs a special committee” and Lindsey Graham who, today, compared Rep. Nunes to the stumbling and bumbling Inspector Clouseau of the Pink Panther series.
Graham also said that the past week for Rep. Nunes has been “bizarre,” but wouldn’t call for him to step down from the committee’s investigation, something Democrats in the House and Senate have done. ”[Nunes has] put his objectivity in question at the very least,” Graham said on NBC’s Today show. “The only way this thing can be repaired is he tells his colleagues on the House intel committee who he met with and what he saw and let them look at the same information.”
While Rep. Nunes and Rep. Schiff fight like Clouseau and Kato, the Senate Intelligence Committee will hold its first public hearing about Russian involvement in the 2016 election on Thursday. That particular event will feature testimony from cybersecurity experts, and future hearings might well feature individuals in the Trump campaign orbit, such as Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Jared Kushner.
For a further breakdown of Rep. Nunes’ work in the Russia investigations, check out CNN’s timeline here.