Devin Nunes’s solution to Intel Committee leaking: Build the wall
Not that wall. This wall would be small enough to fit inside secure facilities for reviewing intelligence documents. He’s going to literally wall off Republicans from Democrats so that neither (but especially Democrats) can leak on the other. No foolin’.
I’m fine with it so as long as Adam Schiff pays for it.
In a sign of increasing partisan hostilities, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee plan to construct a wall – a physical partition – separating Republican and Democratic staff members in the committee’s secure spaces, according to multiple committee sources. It’s expected to happen this spring…
“I swear to God I didn’t know that,” said Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Florida, when asked about the plan. While acknowledging a wall might not be constructive for the committee’s work, he said, “The level of trust and the level of everything down there is – it’s poison. It’s absolute poison down there.”…
While other House committees commonly have some divide between their majority and minority staff, for a committee whose history, broadly, and whose burden, arguably, is to be functionally bipartisan, the plan for the wall – in all its unfortunate symbolism – is a troubling sign of things to come.
Right, in theory the Intelligence Committee is supposed to enjoy more comity than the average congressional committee because its subject matter bears directly on oversight of national security, a bipartisan interest. They’re not debating highly ideological subjects like the optimal tax rate to ensure growth, they’re making sure the good guys don’t abuse their powers in chasing the bad guys. The Senate Intelligence Committee seems to operate with unusual comity most of the time. Every now and then Democrat Mark Warner, the ranking member, will cough up something partisan in front of the mics about Russiagate but most members avoid grandstanding. (Even Warner doesn’t do it enough to qualify as a grandstander, I’d say.) Republican Richard Burr, the chairman, has been a model of low-key stewardship throughout the Russiagate probe.
But the House committee is a dumpster fire, with the two top dogs, Nunes and Schiff, deeply distrusted and even despised by members of the opposite party. The smart thing to do before Republicans and Democrats start having gang fights in the SCIF would be for Ryan and Pelosi to huddle and agree that it’s time for new leadership on the Intelligence Committee on both sides. Nunes is infamous on the left by this point for his memo on FISA abuses and his White-House-coordinated attacks on Obama officials for illegitimate “unmasking.” Schiff is infamous on the right for allegedly leaking like a sieve and unloading on Trump and Nunes at every, and I do mean every, opportunity. If the House flips this fall and we end up with Schiff as chairman and Nunes as ranking member, it’ll be the same old garbage in reverse. If anything, the partisan tensions will get worse as Schiff sics the Committee on Trump. To rebuild credibility, he and Nunes should be bounced by leadership. That won’t solve the whole problem but it’ll solve a key part of it. Mike Conaway, who’s leading the Russiagate arm of the Committee’s work, seems to be following the Burr model in keeping his public profile low. He might make an able replacement as chairman.
Or am I giving him too much credit? We can laugh about the wall but this is less funny:
[Steve] Bannon has been issued a subpoena to reappear before the committee. So far, he has failed to do so three times.
In Bannon’s case, Republicans tend to express concern. “If we have a subpoena out there that’s being ignored and we just don’t do anything about it, guess what? Nobody’s going to come down to the [committee] anymore to answer questions,” Rooney said in a recent interview.
Why isn’t Conaway enforcing the subpoena and demanding that Bannon appear? If he wants to assert executive privilege, let him come in and do that and then have a court fight about it. And why hasn’t Corey Lewandowski been subpoenaed after ending his own testimony before the Committee early? The obvious explanation is that Conaway is bowing to the White House in refusing to twist the arms of former Trump deputies for answers because POTUS wouldn’t like that. If so, he wouldn’t be an able replacement for Nunes after all.
In lieu of an exit question, via the Free Beacon, here’s the media on-message for an entire year.