The midnight ride of Devin Nunes

More skulduggery:

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee was on his way to an event in Washington late Tuesday when the evening’s plans abruptly changed. After taking a brief phone call, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) swapped cars and slipped away from his staff, congressional officials said. He appears to have used that unaccounted-for stretch of time to review classified intelligence files brought to his attention by sources he has said he will not name.

The next morning, Nunes stepped up to a set of microphones in the Capitol complex to declare that he had learned that U.S. spy agencies had “incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition.”

Trump promptly burst into tweets about how right he was when he said Obama wiretapped him.

Last year, Nunes repeatedly skirmished with intelligence leaders over assessments that Russia sought to help Trump win. He has sought to help the White House knock down news stories alleging close ties between Trump associates and the Kremlin. And Nunes has pushed his panel to focus on lines of inquiry — including hunting the sources of damaging news leaks — that seem more favorable to Trump.

Nunes’s latest move came Friday, when he made a flurry of announcements that on the surface signaled promising new investigative paths, including an agreement to hear testimony from Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. But to Democrats, Nunes’s actions again seemed to show the hidden agenda of the White House.

Most immediately, Nunes canceled an open hearing that had been scheduled for Tuesday with former senior officials who have battled Trump. Among them is former acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates, who was fired by Trump; former director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., who publicly disputed Trump’s wiretapping claim; and former CIA director John Brennan, who has said that Trump should “be ashamed of himself” over his behavior toward U.S. spy agencies.

He didn’t postpone it, he canceled it – on his own, without consulting the committee. He’s an ally of Trump’s. You do the math.

Schiff also implied he suspects a White House hand in what he called Nunes’s “dead-of-night excursion” to view classified documents. Several congressional officials said they were told about the phone call and swapped cars by members of Nunes’s staff.

Jack Langer, a spokesman for Nunes, disputed the depiction. “That account is inaccurate,” Langer said. He declined to elaborate.

To review classified files without breaking the law, Nunes would have needed to do so at a secure facility. Congressional officials said that the director of National Intelligence, the FBI and National Security Agency had all indicated that they got no late-night visit from Nunes, a trip that probably would have been entered in security logs.

Nunes has repeatedly refused to say where he went or whether the documents were provided by the White House, including when confronted by committee members during a closed-door meeting on Thursday, officials said.

Is that sleazy and compromised enough yet?

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