Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, who is on the House Intelligence Committee, appeared on Morning Joe today and accused chairman Devin Nunes of being part of a White House cover-up of a crime.
“It’s time for Devin Nunes to leave this investigation, let alone lead it,” Swalwell said. He continued, “He should be gone. And what we saw, going over to the White House he went to received information that you know, Joe, we could receive at the Capitol. We have our own secure facility. If this was done the proper
“If this was done the proper way they could have brought it over, shared it with both parties of the committee. This was done because the White House wanted it to be done and this is what a cover-up to a crime looks like. We are watching it play out right now.”
Rep. Swalwell didn’t explain what the underlying crime was in this case. Is he talking about collusion with Russia? Is he talking about Trump’s tweet about President Obama “wiretapping” Trump Tower? The former has been alleged but not proven and the latter, while arguably ill-advised, isn’t a crime.
Later in the interview, Rep. Swalwell got a laugh when he said of the White House “It’s not an internet cafe. You can’t just walk in and receive classified information.” Throughout the discussion, everyone on the Morning Joe panel talked about Rep. Nunes going to “the White House.” But CNN reported yesterday, Rep. Nunes went to the Eisenhower building also known as the Old Executive Office building. That building is on the White House grounds adjacent to the White House but is not the building most people think of when someone says “the White House.”
Democrats and the media seem to be creating a bit of confusion here, just as they did with the phrase “Russia hacked the election.” It’s ostensibly shorthand for something that is true, i.e. Russia did hack email accounts connected to the election, but the phrase winds up creating a false impression. In the case of “Russia hacked the election,” it created the (false) impression Russia had manipulated vote totals, something one poll showed half of Democrats believed.
Something similar is happening here with the phrase ‘going to the White House.’ It’s true that Rep. Nunes went to the Old Executive Office building, apparently to meet with an Intelligence Community source, but the phrase suggests something else that isn’t true, i.e. he met someone in the White House itself or, possibly, was called there by someone in the White House. In the clip below, Mika Brzezinski even asks (around 5:30), “Was it Steve Bannon? Who would call him?” Once again, the confusion about where Rep. Nunes went seems to play into a narrative Democrats are trying to sell.
This won’t be resolved until Rep. Nunes provides the documents in question to other members of the committee. Until then, Democrats are going to continue to use the lack of hard evidence to claim he is inventing all of this as part of a White House cover-up. Rep. Nunes is going to have to prove his case and the sooner he does that the better.