On Monday, Republicans with the House Intelligence Committee, led by Rep. Devin Nunes, announced an end to their portion of the Russia probe.
In announcing that they were closing their investigation, the Republicans, who make up the majority of the committee, announced that while they agreed that there was Russian interference in the 2016 election, they disagreed with the whole of the United States intelligence community that had concluded that there was a preference for Donald Trump at the heart of the interference.
The Democrat minority on the committee, of course, disagree with the findings and would prefer to push on, but that’s to be expected.
What probably was less expected was having a Republican break rank and say that, yes, there might be more to the notion of Russians preferring Trump than his colleagues let on.
Speaking on CNN on Monday night, Florida Rep. Tom Rooney gave his own conclusions.
“I certainly think there is evidence of that. I don’t know that necessarily there was a full-fledged campaign to do everything that they could to help elect Donald Trump,” Rooney told host Erin Burnett on CNN’s “OutFront.” “I think that their goal was chaos.”
“To say that we have seen or read evidence that says ‘we have to get Donald Trump in there,’ I don’t know that that’s true,” Rooney added.
So did they, or didn’t they?
Burnett pressed in, repeating the conclusion of the intelligence community that the Kremlin wanted to hurt Clinton, while helping Trump.
Rooney responded: “Yes, I believe there’s evidence of everything that you just said.”
Yeah, his name is probably “mud” today with his Republican colleagues.
So was it the right time to end the House Intel Committee’s part of the probe?
To hear Rooney say it, yes.
“We’ve gone completely off the rails and now we are just basically a political forum for people to leak information to drive the day’s news,” Rooney said. “We’ve lost all credibility and we are going to issue probably two different reports, unfortunately.”
This is true. From the beginning, when Nunes went to the White House to consult on how to work the investigation, and then stood before a gaggle of press and announced there was nothing to see, you knew there was going to be conflict.
It was at least enough to force Nunes from leading the committee’s portion of the probe, while he was investigated for ethical violations.
Rooney concluded with a warning to get ahead of any interference in future elections.
“If we don’t get any of these recommendations out before this cycle gets fully underway, then we have really just completely wasted a year of everybody’s time,” he said.
And you are correct, Sir.
Of those recommendations, going to paper ballots has been getting a lot of attention. Maybe start with the upcoming midterms?