With all the fervor in Washington D.C. about the investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the campaign of President Donald Trump, some beltway insiders are trying to divert public attention from the White House crisis, so House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) compiled a memo, the contents of which are entirely unknown but was crafted as a distraction from the special investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia prior to the 2016 presidential election.
Once crafted, leaks calculated to create discussion among right wing influencers emerged suggesting the administration of President Barack Obama used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on American citizens.
Even Fox News anchor Shepard Smith charged that Republicans in Congress and some at talking heads his network for hyping demands to release the memo, calling it a “weapon of mass distraction” on his show Thursday.
“Many who’ve seen the memo say it’s misleading, distracting and lacking context,” said Smith, who claimed the entire controversy lacks real substance.. “The memo itself is in the conservative discussion mix while the special counsel investigating Russian interference into our democracy is apparently about to interview the president of the United States while seeking to determine whether he’s colluded with the Russians or obstructed justice.”
This is not the first time Nunes — who was a member of Trump’s transition team — emerged as a topic of controversy in the Russia scandal. On April 6, 2017, he temporarily stepped aside from leading that investigation while the Office of Congressional Ethics investigates charges that he improperly disclosed classified information.
Nunes was the first leading House Republican to deny that the intelligence community had evidence of contact between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives.
Despite criminal charges leveled by the special prosecutor and yet undisclosed facts from the probe, Nunes said the matter is an attempt to engage in a “witch hunt” insisting that “there’s nothing there.”
After Trump’s national security adviser Michael T. Flynn resigned, Nunes said he would not seek to investigate the retired Army general’s ties to Russia. Nunes said, “From everything that I can see, his conversations with the Russian ambassador—he was doing this country a favor, and he should be thanked for it.” Flynn has since been indicted for lying about the incident to FBI agents.
Nunes also rejected calls that he request Trump’s tax returns.
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