Avid partisan and top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes (Calif.) is having a monumental, days-long and counting public meltdown over the appointment of a particular widely respected former Justice Department official to help oversee FISA court reform. That official, former assistant attorney general David Kris, has served in both Democratic and Republican presidential administrations and now is tasked with assessing the FBI’s fixes for flaws in their surveillance application process exposed by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Since Kris has criticized Nunes in the past, the often over-the-top Congressman suggests that at this point, the entire surveillance process should just be thrown out — not an exaggeration!
Rather than admit that someone critical of him could even possibly be credible, Nunes would like to completely dispose of a highly relevant national security tool used to root out foreign influence in the United States. In a Sunday morning appearance on Fox, Nunes told host Maria Bartiromo:
‘You can’t make this up. I guess we’re going to have to abolish this whole FISA system at this point and try to build something new.’
‘Of all the people in the swamp… this is the guy that you come up with? The guy that was accusing me of federal crimes? The guy that was defending the dirty cops at the FBI?.. The court must be trying to abolish itself. There is long-term damage.’
And during a Monday morning appearance on Fox & Friends, Nunes added that Kris is supposedly “one of the worst people that you could find in the swamp!”
when you order "no pickles" but there are pickles on the sandwich pic.twitter.com/aWHLNckp9q
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 13, 2020
Disturbingly enough, it appears as though Trump was listening closely, at least on Sunday morning. He tweeted:
‘You can’t make this up! David Kris, a highly controversial former DOJ official, was just appointed by the FISA Court to oversee reforms to the FBI’s surveillance procedures. Zero credibility. THE SWAMP!’
You can’t make this up! David Kris, a highly controversial former DOJ official, was just appointed by the FISA Court to oversee reforms to the FBI’s surveillance procedures. Zero credibility. THE SWAMP! @DevinNunes @MariaBartiromo @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020
Did he even know who Kris was before Nunes’s petulant freakout? Who knows. Considering Trump’s documented openness to trying to completely throw off duly proceeding investigations, the net effect of Nunes’s meltdowns could be the president deciding to take matters into his own hands and try and thwart Kris’s work somehow. Good job, Congressman!
Nunes’s main point of contention with Kris seems to be a 2018 blog post that he wrote eviscerating a memo the then-Intel Chairman released alleging that the FBI had grossly stepped out of bounds in ever daring to investigate the Trump campaign’s clearly documented ties to Russian efforts to interfere in U.S. elections. Kris wrote:
‘The Nunes memo was dishonest. And if it is allowed to stand, we risk significant collateral damage to the essential elements of our democracy.’
Then and now, the Congressman has tried to drum up accusations of wrongdoing by federal investigators, routinely obscuring both the evidence implicating their targets and the many, many completely non-problematic aspects of their investigations.
Going forward, the next front in this fight will be the soon-to-begin impeachment trial for President Donald Trump. The House seems set to name managers for their case and send it to the Senate for a trial this week.