Everyday is a whirlwind of news and drama from Washington thanks to the scandal rising nature of Donald Trump’s White House and the congressional brethren that seem willing to do his bidding. One reporter this morning on television likened the recent developments with Trump akin to listening to President Nixon’s Watergate tapes–only doing so now in real time!
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ made that famous jaunt to the White House–as he first stated– to inform Trump on what he had discovered. Now we know that it was members of the NSA team at the White House who had first alerted Nunes to the ‘find’. Clearly the chairman has impeached both his credibility and that of the administration as the congressional probes into Russian interference in the election continue.
The crazy idea that President Obama had ordered wiretaps and surveillance may inspire Nunes to visit the White House and hold press conferences to impress Trump. But it all seriously undermines his own standing, and more importantly the work of the intelligence committee. Last week he claimed to have reviewed intelligence that supposedly supported Trump’s claims that he’d been the victim of dastardly acts. He then announced his findings publicly and briefed Trump before informing his Democratic counterpart.
But here is where his train leaves the track of rationality. Media reports have identified two senior White House officials who are said to be the source of Nunes’ pronouncement, contradicting the White House’s assertion last week that they had nothing to do with his findings. Oh the lessons from the Nixon era that are so hard for others to learn from.
Now the White House has taken the unusual step of inviting the heads of both the House and Senate intelligence committees to the White House to review some intelligence—ostensibly what they have already provided to Nunes. There is no way to make this up.
The Senate committee–with my sincere thanks as there was no way to agree–declined. There was no way to remain a credible venue for investigation had they not made that decision.
At the same time this all is going on the White House has lambasted the media for focusing on the process of the investigation over the substance. While Trump may be easily moved from the topic one needs to be engaged with–“look the new mail order catalog for brides came in the mail!”–the media is not. It’s easy to see why the Trump team is peeved. It is due to the news reports having been proven to be so damning.