By Patrick Murphy
The sense of comity and duty that characterizes the House Intelligence Committee, on which I was honored to serve on during my time in Congress, crumbled this week after Chairman Devin Nunes took several harmful actions.
The news that he canceled this week’s hearings — preventing former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying in the Trump-Russia matter — makes it clear he can no longer impartially chair the committee.
Following testimony by FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers confirming they were looking into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, Nunes took an abrupt meeting with sources at the White House who informed him that Trump staffers may have had their communications incidentally collected. Instead of bringing this information to the ranking member and full committee, he brought it to the President alone before alerting other members.
Nunes is clearly still wearing the hat of Trump surrogate and transition team member, not chairman of one of the House’s most prestigious committees. Further, Trump now feels “vindicated” in his completely baseless claim that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.
The cancellation of this week’s meetings is terrible for national security. Our adversaries will not take a break while Nunes and the White House get their stories straight. The committee’s current slate is long and urgent: North Korean nukes; radicalization efforts by ISIS; worldwide cyber threats.
The integrity of the committee and the agencies it funds is of utmost importance, but partisan politics has stopped their serious work.
It is time for an independent investigator to take over the inquiry of ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. And for the sake national security, it is time for Chairman Nunes to go.
Published March 31, 2017
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