As former special counsel Robert Mueller prepares to testify publicly before Congress about his investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged crimes, Republican Congressman Devin Nunes has mysteriously disappeared from national headlines. You have to wonder. Is he afraid of Mueller?
Well, he’s got plenty of reasons to be scared. Nunes, who was the earliest and most vocal critics of the Mueller investigation, fell into Mueller’s radar after federal prosecutors in Manhattan begun looking into a breakfast event hosted at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., days before the inauguration, with dozens of foreign officials. Also in attendance were Nunes and Michael Flynn, the soon-to-be short-lived Trump national-security adviser.
Mueller’s team reportedly asked Flynn about the breakfast; what role, if any, that Nunes played is unclear.
As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes launched an investigation into whether Russia colluded with the Trump campaign in 2016, only to use his position to defend the administration, claiming that Donald Trump was being unfairly targeted by the Deep State. Shortly thereafter, reports emerged that he was covertly sharing information with the White House, making at least one evening visit to meet with a Trump aide before dramatically revealing his findings to the public.
Nunes was eventually forced to recuse himself from the inquiry, but he continued to parrot the administration’s “witch hunt” line, sending aides to London in a futile attempt to dig up dirt on Christopher Steele, the ex-spy who wrote the Trump-Russia dossier, and hyping a supposedly damning memo that he said proved the F.B.I. had improperly obtained warrants to wiretap the Trump campaign.
The memo, like so much of Nunes’s flailing defense, was a dud. Nunes may only be a bit player in Mueller’s probe. But his presence at key moments could at the very least spark questions about his odd behavior when Mueller testify next week.
In any case, Nune’s silence is speaking loudly.
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