Special counsel Robert Mueller’s historic decision to end his Russia probe on Friday without filing election conspiracy charges against any Trump associate is vindication for Devin Nunes.
A year ago, Mr. Nunes, a Republican congressman from California farm country cleared President Trump and his advisers in a report by the majority of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Mr. Nunes said the verdict was simple. The committee took testimony from intelligence and law enforcement officials, including Democratic Party loyalists. No one presented evidence that the president’s campaign conspired with Moscow to hack Democratic Party computers or coordinate Russian social media attacks on Hillary Clinton.
On Fox News’ “Ingraham Angle” Friday night, Mr. Nunes said the real scandal is the secret effort by Barack Obama-Clinton operatives to doom Mr. Trump.
“I think what you’re seeing tonight, Laura, is the unraveling of the biggest scandal in American history,” Mr. Nunes said. “People need to remember this actually likely dates back to late 2015, early 2016. [A] Clinton, Obama operation with a bunch of dirty cops at the FBI and career Justice Department officials who are all part of it.”
Before his committee’s February 2018 final report, Mr. Nunes had run up against a concerted liberal campaign to delegitimize his chairmanship.
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Mr. Nunes broke off the Russia probe to create a new inquiry: FBI abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In the process, he forced Democrats to disclose one of the biggest secrets in election 2016: who funded the Christopher Steele dossier that accused Mr. Trump and associates of various felonies. The answer: the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.
Conservatives say the Mueller decision now places the dossier in the debunked basket.
The Nunes side probe angered liberals. Andrea Mitchell, an MSNBC news anchor, called him a “clown.” John Heilemann, an MSNBC analyst, said he was an agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A New York Times magazine article said in April 2018 that Mr. Nunes “displayed a deep mistrust of the expert consensus on reality.” Other liberal magazines have also attacked him and his family.
Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat, who now heads the committee, accused Mr. Nunes of protecting the president.
Mr. Schiff has re-started the Russian probe and has hired a chief investigator, who, like him, believes in Mr. Steele and the dossier.
Among Mr. Nunes FISA probe findings:
- Democrats funded the Steele dossier as an unverified opposite research paper and spread it around Washington.
- The FBI cited the dossier as evidence to obtain a judge’s surveillance warrant on campaign adviser Carter Page. The application didn’t disclose that it was a Democrat Party indictment of Mr. Trump.
- The FBI presented a Yahoo News story as corroboration. It actually came from dossier creator Steele.
- The FBI fired Mr. Steele for leaking to the press, then continued to use his information via then-associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr. Mr. Ohr told the FBI Mr. Steele was “desperate” to sink Mr. Trump.
- Lead FBI agent Peter Strzok and his lover, FBI counsel Lisa Page, exchanged harsh text messages about Mr. Trump and vowed to “stop” him.
• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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