As his memo criticizing the FBI nears publication, Democrats and the mainstream media are stepping up attacks on Devin Nunes (R-California), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, even suggesting he’s a “Russian agent.”
On Monday, the committee voted along party lines to make public the currently classified four-page memorandum commissioned by Nunes. The actual contents of the memo are unknown, though media have speculated it accuses the FBI of obtaining a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign on the basis of a dossier paid for by the Clinton camp.
Democrats have denounced the decision as “cynical and destructive,” in the words of Representative Adam Schiff (D-California), the committee’s ranking member. Some media commentators have gone even further, insinuating that Nunes might be an agent of the Kremlin.
Is it possible that the Republican chairman of the House Intel Committee has been compromised by the Russians? Is it possible that we actually have a Russian agent running the House Intel Committee on the Republican side?” MSNBC panelist John Heilemann asked on Monday, stumping Senator Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut).
“I-I-I-I hope that’s not the case,” Murphy replied. “I certainly have no information to suggest that it is.”
“Doesn’t his behavior speak of that, though?” Heilemann asked. “I mean, I’m not the first person who’s raised this. He’s behaving like someone who’s been compromised, and there are people in the intelligence community and others with great expertise in this area who look at him and say, ‘That guy’s been compromised.’”
He later asked the same question of Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-California), who quipped that Nunes has been “compromised by the White House.”
On Wednesday morning, Nunes also came under attack from the Daily Beast. The paper accused him of having a “history of surreptitiously working with the White House to deflect from the myriad inquiries into possible coordination between Trump’s associates and the Kremlin.”
As evidence of Nunes’s nefarious intent, the Beast reported that he refused to answer a question by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) if his staffers had been talking with the White House as they compiled the memo, citing “sources familiar with the exchange.”
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that FBI Director Christopher Wray told the White House he was opposed to publishing the memo, because it contains inaccuracies and paints a false narrative, according to “a person familiar with the matter.”
A statement issued by the FBI on Wednesday said that the bureau had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
Rep. Schiff has called the memo a “profoundly misleading set of talking points… attacking the FBI.”
On Tuesday, the Guardian published an exclusive story claiming that the FBI had in its possession a second dossier, that supposedly corroborates information from the document compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which was paid for by the Clinton campaign in 2016.
The second dossier, authored by Clinton operative Cody Shearer, “raises the possibility that parts of the Steele dossier… may have been corroborated by Shearer’s research, or could still be,” the Guardian speculated.
On Tuesday evening, C-SPAN cameras caught President Donald Trump promising a Republican lawmaker he would release the memo, “100 percent.”
“This president wants everything out so the American people can make up their own minds,” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told Fox News radio on Wednesday morning.