April 12, 2018

SELECT BETTER:

Now You're Free, Paul Ryan. Fire Devin Nunes.: There's still time for the House speaker to redeem himself on Russiagate. (MIEKE EOYANG, April 11, 2018, Politico)

HPSCI is one of the few remaining "select" Committees in Congress, meaning the speaker alone picks the committee chair and the membership for the Republicans. (The minority leader does the same for the Democrats.) Under House rules, the speaker may, at any time, remove any member of a select committee at his or her discretion. In the past, members have been stripped of their committee assignments for causing problems for the leadership. Thus, unlike other committees, where the caucus or a steering committee has a say in the committee leadership, HPSCI is effectively under Ryan's thumb. So he owns Nunes' shameful handling of the Russia probe, and his hijinks on behalf of the White House.

Nunes wasn't always a bad egg. After Speaker John Boehner announced that he was relinquishing the job, he appointed the Fresno congressman to chair HPSCI. Nunes was known as a loyal partisan and a Ryan ally, but at the time he seemed like a traditional Republican when it came to intelligence oversight and had a good relationship with the members of his committee.

Unfortunately, something changed dramatically after Donald Trump won theelection. During the weeks before Trump took office, Chris Christie was removed as head of the transition team and with him, former Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, a respected ex-chair of HPSCI who ran the committee in a serious, bipartisan fashion. In came Nunes, who helped select national security appointees and set up the administration's national security agenda. Unlike many who serve on transition teams, however, Nunes didn't enter the administration, but returned to HPSCI to run the committee and conduct oversight over the national security foundations that he had laid.

Then, three months after the inauguration, after Trump claimed that his predecessor had "wiretapped" Trump Tower during the election, Nunes dashed off to the White House in the middle the night and the next day, called two bizarre news conferences during which he accused President Barack Obama's team of improperly "unmasking" the identities of Trump associates. The claim never withstood close scrutiny...

Nor distant.



MORE:
Trump Ordered DOJ to Hire Controversial Former Aide, Sources Say (Chris Strohm & Jennifer Jacobs, Apr. 11th, 2018, Bloomberg)

President Donald Trump personally ordered the Department of Justice to hire a former White House official who departed after he was caught up in a controversy over the release of intelligence material to a member of Congress, according to people familiar with the matter.

Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who was forced out of the National Security Council last year, will advise Attorney General Jeff Sessions on national security matters. He left the White House in August for a job at Oracle Corp. following reports that he had shown House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes classified documents.

Posted by at April 12, 2018 4:26 AM

  

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