NY Times Again Tries and Fails to Discredit Rep. Devin Nunes' Oversight of Russia Probe

May 13th, 2018 4:03 PM

The New York Times’ attacks on the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, continued in Sunday’s news section, under the byline of Nicholas Fandos and Katie Benner: “Wielding Threats, Nunes Attacks Justice Dept.” The text box featured typical liberal media weasel wording: “Some see an effort to weaponize documents and undermine the Russia inquiry.” When the Times claims “some see,” one can safely substitute the phrase “Liberal Times reporters see.”

The Times and the left are furious at Nunes’ muddying the soothing narrative of Russia-Trump “collusion” in Campaign 2016 and insisting on oversight. The paper last tried to go after Nunes, with laughable results, in the form of 5,000 words in the April 29 edition of the paper’s Sunday magazine to paint Nunes as conspiratorial – a hack job expertly fileted by Mollie Hemingway.)

Fandos and Benner wrote on Sunday:

Since Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee declared that they had found no evidence of coordination between Russia’s election interference and the Trump campaign, its chairman has decisively turned the panel’s attention from investigation to investigators.

The chairman, Representative Devin Nunes of California, has issued increasingly bold demands for access to some of the Justice Department’s most sensitive case files. He has courted a series of escalating confrontations over access to materials that are usually off limits to Congress under department policy. And when those efforts failed, he threatened top law enforcement officials -- mostly Republicans appointed by Mr. Trump.

In the latest episode, splashed across cable news this past week, Mr. Nunes demanded more documents and related materials for his investigation into allegations of surveillance abuse by federal law enforcement officials. His claim pitted him against not just the Justice Department, but also officials in the F.B.I., the intelligence community and the White House, who warned that disclosure could endanger a longtime source who is aiding the special counsel’s investigation.

As Mr. Nunes sees it, the cycle of confrontation is part of a legitimate effort by him and other House Republicans to conduct oversight of obstinate law enforcement officials.

But increasingly, top officials at the Justice Department have privately expressed concern that the lawmakers are simply mining government secrets for information they can weaponize against those investigating the president, including the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

The Times used a sympathetic source – Nunes’ Democratic counterpart on the intelligence committee.

Democrats believe the pattern is clear: Mr. Nunes is abusing his authority to undermine the Russia investigation.

“The goal is not the information,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the committee. “The goal is the fight. And the ultimate objective is to undermine the Justice Department, undermine Bob Mueller and give the president a pretext to fire people.”


But Mr. Nunes’s handling of his secretive memo, released in early February, has been a source of lasting ill will....

Yet Mr. Trump seized on its findings to declare that he had been vindicated. And now, department officials said they were fearful that Mr. Nunes and his allies were seeking a repeat performance. More troubling, the officials said, is that Mr. Nunes’s actions suggest that he is more interested in courting conflict than understanding the case.

On a related note, intelligence journalist Scott Shane swiped at a fellow Times reporter in the Sunday Review section, “When Spies Hack Journalism,” saying Hillary-beat reporter Amy Chozick’s pathetic mea culpa for actually reporting unflattering news about Hillary Clinton was not “fully satisfying,” because Russia wasn’t fair and balanced about leaking information from the Trump campaign as well -- an odd standard.

It’s a standard the paper and Shane himself blithely ignore when a Republican administration is the target.