Representative Devin Nunes has become an incredibly controversial figure in the era of Donald Trump.
As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes has been a central figure in the Congressional investigation into what exactly was going on during the 2016 election and who might have been involved with Russia (as well as in what way).
The release of the controversial Nunes memo in recent weeks has only gone on to further erode confidence in his committee’s competence. Partisan bickering between him and Democrat Adam Schiff and the status of Nunes’ relationship with the Trump Team prior to the Trump presidency have created headlines rather than any real progress.
Nunes’ actions have become so questionable that a bi-partisan complaint has emerged from the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were behind the leak of private text messages between the Senate panel’s top Democrat and a Russian-connected lawyer, according to two congressional officials briefed on the matter.
Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the committee’s Republican chairman, and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat, were so perturbed by the leak that they demanded a rare meeting with Speaker Paul D. Ryan last month to inform him of their findings. They used the meeting with Mr. Ryan to raise broader concerns about the direction of the House Intelligence Committee under its chairman, Representative Devin Nunes of California, the officials said.
To the senators, who are overseeing what is effectively the last bipartisan investigation on Capitol Hill into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the leak was a serious breach of protocol and a partisan attack by one intelligence committee against the other
The idea that either intelligence committee would breach security protocol and take part in partisan attacks is a major problem, and it makes it clear that there is one person responsible for the breakdown of the integrity of the committee: Devin Nunes.
In dealing with incredibly sensitive material vital to the nation’s defense and safety, the committee has a responsibility to use that information for the greater good. To use it for a petty partisan squabble is way beyond foolish — it is downright dangerous.
Were this a Democrat, Republicans would be calling for that Democrats’ head. It is not a Democrat, however. It is a Republican and one whose values are increasingly in line with whatever Trump feels at a particular moment.
Nunes is compromised by his partisanship. He must step down or be forced to step down immediately. Not getting rid of his presence on this committee sends a clear message to other politicians and to either side’s base voters that this type of behavior is okay. We cannot tolerate this behavior, however, because of the nature of the intelligence committee’s job.
If leaking those texts was okay, then where is the line? What one person deems of interest to a political party’s interests is entirely subjective, and it will snowball out of control.
Paul Ryan, House Republicans, and Republicans everywhere must demand Nunes step down. It is the only way to try to restore some modicum of respect to a committee that deals with some of the most sensitive of information.