In the months since Republican Congressman Devin Nunes was first pushed into the national spotlight, it’s been easy to see why Donald Trump was able to sucker him into sabotaging his own committee’s investigation into the Russia scandal: Nunes isn’t particularly bright. The downside to conning a dummy into doing your bidding is that there’s a strong chance the dummy will screw it up. Now it turns out Nunes may have caused even more trouble for Trump and team than was previously known.
It wasn’t enough that Devin Nunes ran to the White House with classified information from his House Intelligence Committee’s Trump-Russia investigation, or that doing so got him tossed from the investigation and placed under an ethics probe. It turns out the interference Nunes was trying to run has backfired, according to a new Reuters report (link). By trying to frame the Obama administration for imaginary crimes against the Trump campaign, Nunes has unwittingly exposed criminal behavior by the Trump campaign.
Nunes accidentally outed various members of the Trump team for having violated the Logan Act, which makes it illegal for an individual to negotiate with a foreign government. Several Trump advisers broke this law by negotiating with Russia during the election. It’s a two hundred year old law and no one has ever been prosecuted for it. But it was updated as recently as 1994, meaning it’s not considered arcane. It opens up yet another avenue for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to pressure Trump’s underlings to flip on him.
Up to this point Mueller has employed a number of aggressive tactics, including having the FBI bust through Paul Manafort’s door just hours after his testimony before Congress. So it wouldn’t be shocking to see him add the Logan Act to his arsenal – and he’ll have the bumbling of Devin Nunes to thank for it. For that matter, it won’t come as a shock if Mueller is also pursuing Nunes for obstructing justice by trying to sabotage his own committee’s investigation.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report