Nunes takes high road amid the Demo­crat block

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - MERCEDES SCHLAPP Mercedes Schlapp is a Fox News con­trib­u­tor, co-founder of Cove Strate­gies and for­mer White House direc­tor of spe­cialty me­dia un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

While Repub­li­cans are fig­ur­ing out their new gov­ern­ing role, lib­eral Democrats are qui­etly win­ning small vic­to­ries with their “all re­sis­tance all the time” approach. Their take­down of House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee Chair­man Devin Nunes is just one ex­am­ple of how lib­er­als have been able to game the cur­rent con­gres­sional struc­ture to get re­sults. Left-wing groups such as MoveOn.org sub­mit­ted a com­plaint to the Office on Con­gres­sional Ethics — the same office cre­ated by ex-Demo­cratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi back in 2008 — ask­ing whether Mr. Nunes dis­closed any clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

MoveOn.org stated that Mr. Nunes may have “vi­o­lated the Es­pi­onage Act and the rules of the House by dis­clos­ing clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion with­out the au­tho­riza­tion re­quired by House Rules or any other proper au­tho­riza­tion.” These are se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions, de­signed to de­stroy Mr. Nunes’ rep­u­ta­tion and his abil­ity to lead the House probe into Rus­sian hack­ing and Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion snoop­ing in the 2016 elec­tion.

Re­call that at the be­gin­ning of this con­gres­sional ses­sion, Repub­li­cans tried to re­form the OCE, but re­ceived sig­nif­i­cant back­lash from the Democrats and even Pres­i­dent Trump. The OCE is meant to be an in­de­pen­dent com­mit­tee where any in­di­vid­ual or group can sub­mit a com­plaint to this ethics com­mit­tee on a mem­ber of Congress. This opens the flood­gates for po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated groups to go af­ter spe­cific law­mak­ers.

This time, lib­er­als tar­geted Mr. Nunes. The ethics com­plaint came just days af­ter the rev­e­la­tion that for­mer Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Su­san Rice asked for the names of Trump cam­paign of­fi­cials redacted in U.S. in­tel­li­gence sur­veil­lance re­ports. Se­ri­ous ques­tions were raised about her “un­mask­ing,” yet some lib­eral me­dia out­lets called it a “fake scan­dal.” Lib­eral pun­dit David Corn ar­gued that Ms. Rice’s un­mask­ing con­tro­versy was purely a “racist and sex­ist” move by the GOP.

In step­ping aside, Mr. Nunes made a tough de­ci­sion, not want­ing his fel­low con­gres­sional mem­bers to have to deal with the fall­out of what has be­come a po­lit­i­cally toxic topic. In his state­ment, Mr. Nunes called the charges “en­tirely false and po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated,” adding that they were “be­ing lev­eled just as the Amer­i­can peo­ple are be­gin­ning to learn the truth about the im­proper un­mask­ing of the iden­ti­ties of U.S. cit­i­zens and other abuses of power.”

Mo­ments af­ter Mr. Nunes made his an­nounce­ment, Cal­i­for­nia Rep. Adam B. Schiff, the rank­ing Demo­crat on the in­tel­li­gence panel, glee­fully spoke at a news con­fer­ence about how he agreed with Mr. Nunes’ de­ci­sion. Yet Mr. Schiff him­self is guilty of pro­vid­ing con­clu­sions with­out fin­ish­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

On MSNBC, for ex­am­ple, Mr. Schiff talked about “cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence” re­gard­ing the col­lu­sion be­tween Rus­sia and the Trump cam­paign — with­out wait­ing for the fi­nal find­ings of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions. The ques­tions sur­round­ing Ms. Rice were an­other “dis­trac­tion” from the Rus­sian probe, Mr. Schiff con­tended.

The cor­rect an­swer would have been that the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee should in­ves­ti­gate. His ac­tions and words were ir­re­spon­si­ble, and Mr. Schiff, not Mr. Nunes, is the one who should con­sider re­cus­ing him­self.

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