B.S. Fake News Story Put Out About Devin Nunes In Continued Attempt To Continue Russian Collusion Narrative

Devin Nunes during a House Intelligence Committee hearing.
By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images.

BY TINA NGUYEN

IS DEVIN NUNES IN TROUBLE WITH MUELLER?

One of the president’s most ardent defenders was present at a breakfast that’s being scrutinized by Robert Mueller and Manhattan federal prosecutors.

JANUARY 15, 2019 12:47 PM

Devin Nunes during a House Intelligence Committee hearing.

By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images.

Months after his name largely disappeared from national headlines, Congressman Devin Nunes—one of the earliest and most vocal critics of the Mueller investigation—is back in the news for all the wrong reasons. On Monday, the Daily Beast reported that Mueller’s team, as well as federal prosecutors in Manhattan, have 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. Manhattan prosecutors are reportedly scrutinizing the event as part of their probe into whether Team Trump misspent inaugural funds. The special counsel’s office has reportedly opened a parallel inquiry into whether foreign officials illegally donated to the Trump inaugural fund via American middlemen.

In both cases, prosecutors want to know whether countries like Russia managed to buy influence with the White House. As former federal prosecutor Paul Pelletier explained to the Daily Beast, “If you’re a prosecutor, all of the right players are there. In a lot of ways, breakfasts like this are totally normal. It happens all the time in Washington. So, they wouldn’t be investigating it if they weren’t following the money. The big question would be: who is paying for it? It’s got to be part of the broader scheme of who is trying to use money to influence the White House.”

Aaron Rupar

✔@atrupar

Rep @DevinNunes downplays report Mueller is investigating a meeting he took with foreign ambassadors just before Trump’s inauguration: “Another day, another fake news story… I was meeting w/people on a daily basis… if they want to talk, we’re available.”

Mueller’s team has reportedly already asked Flynn about the breakfast; what role, if any, that Nunes played is unclear. In any case, his reemergence on the other side of the Russia probe is hardly surprising, given Mueller’s interest in potential obstruction of justice. 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.

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Nunes was eventually forced to recuse himself from the inquiry, but he continued to parrot the administration’s “witch hunt” line, reportedly 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 memothat 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 raise additional questions about his odd behavior.

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TINA NGUYENTina Nguyen is a reporter for The Hive, covering politics and the media.

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