House Intel Chair: ‘Possible That Other Surveillance Activities Used Against’ Trump and Associates


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During his opening statement at today’s House Intelligence hearing into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes knocked down President Donald Trump’s claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower before the election. Well, somewhat. While specifically stating that there was no wiretap of the Trump Tower, Nunes — who was on the Trump transition team — said that other surveillance may have occurred. “Let me be clear,” Nunes said. “I’ve been saying this for several weeks. We know there was not a physical wiretap of Trump Tower. However, it’s still possible that other surveillance activities were used against president trump and his associates.” Following Trump’s tweets about wiretapping, Nunes eventually came out and said there was no evidence to back up his claim. In an interview last week with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, Trump indicated that Continue reading "House Intel Chair: ‘Possible That Other Surveillance Activities Used Against’ Trump and Associates"

‘I Don’t Think There Was an Actual Tap’: GOP Leader Says There Is No Evidence of Wiretapping at Trump Tower


This post is by Lindsey Ellefson from Mediaite


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Today, there was a press conference held which detailed the Intelligence Committee’s findings (or lack thereof) when it comes to Donald Trump‘s claims that Barack Obama wiretapped him. “We don’t have any evidence that that took place and in fact, I don’t believe — just in the last week of time, the people we’ve talked to — I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” said Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican from California. Adam Schiff, a ranking member of the committee, followed up with, “I’ve seen no evidence that supports the claim that Trump made that his predecessor had wiretapped he and his associates at Trump Tower. Thus far, we have seen no basis for that whatsoever.” Watch the clip above to hear both of them speak. [image via screengrab] —— Lindsey: Twitter. Facebook.

Tapper: ‘I Find it Interesting the Idea That a 70-Year-Old Man Shouldn’t Be Held Accountable for His Words’


This post is by Justin Baragona from Mediaite


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During a panel discussion on CNN’s The Lead this afternoon, anchor Jake Tapper got a bit snarky regarding the attempts by White House officials to provide cover to President Donald Trump over his series of tweets in which he baselessly accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping his phones.

Tapper played a video clip of House Intelligence Committee Chairman (and former Trump transition team member) Devin Nunes excusing Trump’s remarks due to the president being a “political neophyte.” The rest of the panel essentially came to the conclusion that Trump made a specific accusation, isn’t providing evidence, but the White House is still doubling down on the claims.

“Time and time again this president continues to do things that make it very hard for his allies to defend him,” Washington Post reporter Abby Phillip said. “And this is just one of those times. I Continue reading "Tapper: ‘I Find it Interesting the Idea That a 70-Year-Old Man Shouldn’t Be Held Accountable for His Words’"

Devin Nunes on Wiretapping Tweets: Trump’s a Political ‘Neophyte,’ People Keep Taking Him Literally


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes faced a number of questions at an afternoon briefing today over President Trump‘s wiretapping tweets.

He said that he has not seen the evidence yet for what the president tweeted. When asked if Trump should have said those things, Nunes answered, “He’s the President of the United States, not me.”

He argued that it seems like the point of Trump’s tweets was that he was “asking a question” about whether he or anyone else in his orbited was being monitored. “I think it’s a valid question,” Nunes said, “if indeed it was a question.”

When asked about why he’s calling it a question as opposed to what actually seemed like a “declarative statement” from the president, Nunes responded thusly:

The president is a neophyte to politics. He’s been doing this a little over a year, and Continue reading "Devin Nunes on Wiretapping Tweets: Trump’s a Political ‘Neophyte,’ People Keep Taking Him Literally"

GOP Rep. Nunes, Head of House Intelligence Comm. Admits to ‘A Lot of Concerns’ About Trump’s Immigration Plan


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According to Five Thirty Eight‘s Trump Tracker, which monitors how often House members and Senators agree with President Donald Trump, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-22) has a perfect score — meaning that so far, he has voted with the President on every issue that has come before him. But if comments Tuesday are any indication, Nunes — who is the head of the House Intelligence Committee — may be preparing to split with Trump on the subject of immigration. During an appearance on The Lead, Nunes was asked by host Jake Tapper if he had concerns about Trump’s “aggressive approach when it comes to detaining and deporting many more undocumented immigrants.” His response? “Well, I do have a lot of concerns about this,” Nunes said. Nunes said that we wasn’t sure the Department of Homeland Security could come up with a way to only Continue reading "GOP Rep. Nunes, Head of House Intelligence Comm. Admits to ‘A Lot of Concerns’ About Trump’s Immigration Plan"

‘It’s Taking Care of Itself’: House Oversight Chair Chaffetz Says There’s No Need to Investigate Flynn


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Jason-Chaffetz-via-C-SPAN-1-247x162-1 Earlier today, it was reported that the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), explained that he wouldn’t probe Michael Flynn’s resignation any further, but may look into leaks to the press. Well, it appears another powerful committee chairman has similar thoughts when it comes to the brewing political scandal. Speaking to reporters this morning, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) let it be know that he wasn’t interested in looking any further into Flynn, who resigned as National Security Adviser late last night in wake of reports that he communicated with the Russian ambassador on sanctions prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

House Intel Chair Won’t Probe Trump Over Flynn Resignation, May Investigate Leaks to Press


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The morning after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned amid a firestorm of controversy over his dealings with Russia, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee stated that he won’t be probing President Donald Trump over his discussions with Flynn. However, he is interested in looking at something else — leaks to the press. According to CNN’s Manu Raju, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) spoke to reporters this morning on Capitol Hill and cited executive privilege as covering Trump regarding his conversations with his NSA. At the same time, Nunes said that he is “very concerned with the leaks” surrounding Flynn’s calls with the Russian ambassador and that is something he “wants to look into.” Nunes’ comments seem to reflect those made by the president this morning via Twitter.

Obama’s ‘Suddenly Awoken to the Threat’: GOP Rep Chides President Over Russian Cyberattacks


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devin-nuneseditedEarlier today, it was reported that President Barack Obama had ordered a full review of the possible interference in this year’s elections by Russian cyberattacks and hacking. This comes on the heels of members of Congress pressing POTUS to provide more information about what intelligence agencies had gathered regarding the charges that Russia tried to influence the presidential election. In response to this news, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, explained that he is not surprised by “Russia’s belligerence” but mocked Obama for only now caring about Russian threats.
“I’ve said many times, the Intelligence Community has repeatedly failed to anticipate Putin’s hostile actions. Unfortunately the Obama administration, dedicated to delusions of ‘resetting’ relations with Russia, ignored pleas by numerous Intelligence Committee members to take more forceful action against the Kremlin’s aggression. It appears, however, that after eight years the administration has suddenly awoken to the Continue reading "Obama’s ‘Suddenly Awoken to the Threat’: GOP Rep Chides President Over Russian Cyberattacks"

The New House Intel Chair Once Called GOP Colleague ‘Al Qaeda’s Best Friend’


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Call your colleague “al Qaeda’s best friend” and one day you’ll be taken seriously enough to get selected to chair the House Intelligence Committee. That’s the life lesson we learned today from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA). Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announced Tuesday afternoon that Nunes would succeed Rep. Mike Rogers as chair. “Today we face a sophisticated and determined terrorist enemy that is intent on killing more and more Americans, not to mention innocents around the globe,” Boehner’s statement read. “The world is becoming increasingly dangerous and the Intelligence Committee is vital to our efforts to protect the American people. Over the past four years, Devin has been instrumental in ensuring that our intelligence professionals have the resources they need to keep America safe. He has asked the tough questions and conducted serious oversight to hold the Obama administration accountable.” Rewind to May 2014 and you may recall that Nunes infamously called libertarian-leaning Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) “al Qaeda’s best friend” for having the audacity to challenge the government on issues of national security, surveillance, and warfare. Aside from building a reputation as an earnest, ideologically consistent lawmaker — for most of his votes, he posts his corresponding rationale to Facebook — Amash has become a target for many hawkish, “establishment”-type Republicans like Nunes and Rogers (though they failed to primary him out of office). His lack of subservience to the Republican apparatchik has gotten him booted from the House Budget Committee. For those concerned about government snooping and an expanded warfare state, the continued ascendance of hawks might feel deflating until you realize who was the other top choice for the Intel gavel: Rep. Peter King (R-NY), he of “arrest journalists,” abuse civil liberties, and support Irish terrorists fame. – –
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GOP Rep. Calls Justin Amash ‘Al Qaeda’s Best Friend in Congress’


This post is by Evan McMurry from Mediaite


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Representative Justin Amash’s (R-MI) unorthodox votes are beginning to cost him: the GOP establishment, emboldened by recent primary wins like Thom Tillis’ in North Carolina, has targeted Amash with a primary challenger, and fellow Michigan Republicans are not rushing to his side. But it was his colleague Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) who got the money quote in Thursday morning’s POLITICO piece on Amash’s reelection fight.
“He’s been leading the charge and not telling the truth about [NSA surveillance policies],” Nunes said. “He’s been fanning the flames, and it gets to the point where my assessment is this is a guy willing to work with San Francisco Democrats to protect bait fish, and at the same time he’s Al Qaeda’s best friend in the Congress.” Amash was not amused. “I vote less often with Nancy Pelosi, the real San Francisco Democrat, than any member of Congress,” he told POLITICO. “I opposed Nunes’ water bill on constitutional grounds, and his comments are unbecoming of a representative.” Retiring House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) wasn’t much nicer about Amash’s voting record. “Once you get to know [Amash], and I know that district from being around Michigan for long enough, he’s completely out of line with these people,” he said. “He votes more with the Democrats than with the Republicans, and that’s not out of principle, that’s out of him branding himself as something different.” Rogers even donated $5,000 to Amash’s primary opponent. [h/t POLITICO]
[Image via Kevin Lamarque / Reuters] ——
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Fox’s Gretchen Carlson Grills Two Congressmen: ‘Isn’t This What Americans Hate About You Guys?’


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On Fox this afternoon, Gretchen Carlson grilled two congressmen over whether the proposal to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling will pass through the House of Representatives. After they admitted that this whole ordeal could’ve been dealt with earlier in the month, Carlson asked whether this is indicative of what Americans “hate” about members of Congress.

When asked whether the bill will pass the House, both Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Adam Smith (D-WA) answered in the affirmative. The latter, however, added that “The shame of it is, this is something we could have done back in the beginning of October.”

That prompted Carlson to ask her guests: “Isn’t this what Americans hate, quite frankly, about you guys, members of Congress? That this is something that could have been done long ago and here we are again?”

“It’s difficult,” Republican Nunes replied. “I understand why the American people are upset, but the bottom line is in order to make cuts it’s hard for members to pass that vote. I think Republicans made a mistake by thinking that Obamacare was going to be so unpopular that in shutting down the government we would gain something.”

Democratic Rep. Smith stepped in, adding that “There is no question that the Affordable Care Act could be improved. But the debate, unfortunately, wasn’t about how to improve it, it was about how to kill it.” He continued on to suggest the same pattern exists in the debate over the federal deficit. “The debate is that the Republicans continue to insist no new revenue, period,” he asserted. period. “And that is the problem.”

“This is what Americans get so frustrated with,” Carlson interjected. “Again, we have this kicking the can down the road mentality. You have the time to create a budget committee? Really? Really? Because didn’t we just do this with Simpson-Bowles two years ago?”

When Smith pointed out that the country itself is divided on budgetary questions, Carlson shot back: “The President of the United States looked at that Simpson-Bowles report and he punted. He punted!”

“To be fair here,” Nunes clarified, “so that you understand what’s happening, this is not a bipartisan commission. This is following the Constitution and having the budget committees meet in a conference as they are supposed to.”

“I get it all,” Carlson fired back, “but the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in how many years?”

“They passed one this year, as a matter of fact,” Smith declared.

Watch the segment below, via Fox:

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GOP Rep. Nunes Announces New House Bill on CNN, Takes a Swipe at Tea Party ‘Lunacy’


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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CNN’s Dana Bash spoke to Republican congressman Devin Nunes Tuesday afternoon. Nunes broke news about a new House bill to raise the debt ceiling and end the shutdown, attached to some changes in the Affordable Care Act. He admitted it’s not clear whether they have the votes to pass it, but remained confident in spite of the “lunacy” taking place within the GOP.

Bash brought up comments Nunes made the day before the shutdown, calling his Republican colleagues gung-ho on Obamacare “lemmings with suicide vests.” Nunes told Bash he doesn’t consider these people conservative because “to be a conservative you have to know how to count” and they can’t take on this “lunacy” because “you have to be here to actually conserve something” in the future.

Nunes did add that the bill being pushed by the House won’t likely get any Democratic votes, but expressed hope that Democrats in the Senate would support it. He said that the Democrats like the shutdown because it’s “helping them politically.”

Watch the video below, via CNN:

[photo via screengrab]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac