Rogue Congressman Devin Nunes, the Republican Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, did today precisely what we’ve been expecting him to do all along. He had his Republican-controlled committee publish a report which, in spite of all the publicly available facts and evidence to the contrary, claimed that there was no collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia during the election. Not only is this report likely to have no real impact or change any minds, it’s also opened up Nunes to far more severe criminal prosecution than he was already facing.
When it comes to the Republicans on the House Intel Committee in general, the mere publication of this intentionally dishonest report may or may not meet the legal definition of obstruction of justice on its own. But when it comes to Devin Nunes in particular, it’s a very different story. In legal terms, demonstrating obstruction of justice is most efficiently accomplished by establishing a malicious pattern of behavior.
Last year Nunes raced to the White House in the middle of the night to give classified intel about the investigation to Donald Trump’s team, in the hope of sabotaging the investigation. Earlier this year he published an intentionally dishonest memo aimed at misinforming the public about the investigation. Now he’s led the charge in publishing this demonstrably false “exoneration” of Donald Trump and his associates.
Each of these incidents, piled on top of the next, greatly helps Robert Mueller to build an obstruction of justice case against Devin Nunes. As of yet we do not have any specific confirmation that Mueller is targeting Nunes. However, it has long been widely reported that Mueller is investigating Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s role in the Trump-Russia scandal. So it’s reasonable to expect that Mueller has been investigating Nunes all along as well. In that sense, Nunes just made Mueller’s job easier.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report