Tuesday Reads: Is This A Constitutional Crisis Yet?Posted: March 28, 2017
Are we in a constitutional crisis yet? I certainly think so. There is so much happening this morning that I have been just sitting here open-mouthed trying to figure things out. I don’t think anyone can do that quite yet. Basically, Rep Devin Nunes has completely blown up the House Intelligence Committee investigation; and until he steps down we’re in a holding pattern. CNN reports as of 11:33 his morning: White House evasive as House Intelligence Committee grinds to a halt.
The Trump administration is refusing to provide details Tuesday to who signed House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes into offices on White House grounds, as the House investigation into Russia’s interference in the US elections is stalled, the victim of a partisan showdown.
All meetings of the House Russia investigators were canceled this week after the top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, said Nunes must recuse himself in order for the investigation to continue. Nunes, however, told CNN Tuesday morning he was “moving forward” with the investigation and said he won’t recuse himself.“It moves forward just like it was before,” Nunes told reporters.It’s a monumental shift from where House investigators planned to be Tuesday, interrogating a trio of former Obama administration officials in a public hearing. But last week’s hearing — the first and so far only public hearing of the House Russia investigation — sparked a wildfire of partisan fighting after FBI Director James Comey confirmed he is investigating possible coordination between President Donald Trump’s campaign aides and Russian officials.
The Washington Post just published this exclusive: Trump administration sought to block Sally Yates from testifying to Congress on Russia.
The Trump administration sought to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying to Congress in the House investigation of links between Russian officials and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, The Washington Post has learned, a position that is likely to further anger Democrats who have accused Republicans of trying to damage the inquiry.
According to letters The Post reviewed, the Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege.
Yates and other former intelligence officials had been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee this week, a hearing that was abruptly canceled by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). Yates was the deputy attorney general in the final years of the Obama administration, and served as the acting attorney general in the first days of the Trump administration….
Yates and another witness at the planned hearing, former CIA director John Brennan, had made clear to government officials by Thursday that their testimony to the committee probably would contradict some statements that White House officials had made, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The following day, when Yates’s lawyer sent a letter to the White House indicating that she still wanted to testify, the hearing was canceled.,
Read the whole thing at the WaPo. For now, Yates has been silenced. You can read her lawyer’s letters at the link.
Earlier this morning, Rep. Eric Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee accused Devin Yates of trying to cover up a crime, according to Politico.
Nunes (R-Calif.) confirmed Monday that he had traveled to the White House to meet with his still-unnamed source on the day before he made his announcement but denied that the public disclosure was coordinated in any way with Trump administration officials. The White House, Nunes said in a CNN interview, simply served as a secure location for reviewing classified information and “I’m quite sure that I think people in the West Wing had no idea that I was there.”
But Swalwell (D-Calif.), also a member of the House Intelligence Committee, disputed the chairman’s argument Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It’s not an internet cafe. You can’t just walk in and receive classified information,” Swalwell said of the White House, adding that when a member of Congress visits, “everyone in the building knows that you’re there in the building.”
“This is done because the White House wanted it to be done,” the California Democrat said. “And this is what a cover-up to a crime looks like. We are watching it play out right now.”
I’ve been somewhat resisting the conspiracy theories, but at this point I have to admit that nothing would surprise me.
Yesterday, Joseph Cannon wrote about what he thinks the White House did to Devin Nunes, who is obviously in so far over his head that he’s drowning in Trump propaganda.
The fun started the day before Nunes made his instantly-infamous press conference, when (says the Daily Beast) he got a sooper-seekrit text message while riding around in an Uber with a chief aide. Nunes suddenly left the car and, we now know, popped on over to the White House — or rather, another building technically located on White House grounds. There, someone ushered him into a special sooper-seekrit room where he was plopped in front of a computer and allowed to look at sooper-seekrit classified documents….
The Brits used to call this gambit the double bubble. The CIA has another name for it which I’ve run into in the course of my readings, but which I’ve forgotten. (Perhaps a reader can refresh my memory.) Basically, it’s the old “You may look, but you may not copy” trick, in which the mark is granted rare access to an impressively secret and secure room where he is allowed to look at classified documents. Sort of like that scene in Citizen Kane, Donald Trump’s favorite movie.
Are the documents real? Or are they a cunning mixture of real and fake?
The mark doesn’t know. He presumes that they are real because he’s caught up in a James Bond fantasy world. It’s all so sooper-seekrit, and he is just soooooooo special because these bigwigs trust him and him alone with all of this sooper-seekrit classified material.
“I’m in on it! Nobody else. Just ME! I must be really important because they chose ME!”
Please read the whole thing.
Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, posted this statement on Twitter this morning:
Last night I read through Louise Mensch’s recent posts on the activities of Boris Epshteyn, Jared Kushner, and Devin Nunes. If you’re interesting the Russia investigation, I’d suggest reading them.