House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Thursday blamed Democrats for what he called “successful” Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying that the “commotion” created by Democrats over a dossier of information about President Donald Trump had played into the Russians’ hands.
“What has allowed them to be successful in this sabotage of an election is that they’re trying to change public opinion,” Nunes told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, referring to Russia.
Nunes attempted to argue that revelations that Hillary Clinton and the DNC partly funded the research on Trump by former MI6 official Michael Steele could have biased the Congress and the intelligence community’s potential use of that information. (Republicans previously funded research about Trump.)
“With all of this commotion, and with all of the nonsense that was put out, don’t you think it would have been important for the Congress to know back in January, when we were first briefed on this Trump dossier, that it was actually paid for by the opposition party?” Nunes asked.
He continued: “So the people that made the Russians successful are the Democrats, and the people who have continued this nonsense over and over and over again, looking for Russians behind every tree. We continue to chase ghosts around and around this place.”
The chairman had said earlier that, if evidence emerged proving that research funded by Democrats served as the basis of investigations pursued by Congress or the intelligence community, “there’s going to be a major problem.”
If that’s the Nunes’ standard, he might have a hard time applying it evenly: Hillary Clinton’s State Department’s role in approving uranium transactions with a Russian company became a fiery talking point during the 2016 election — and now, the subject of a probe by Nunes himself — due in large part to the book “Clinton Cash.”
That book was written by the president of the Government Accountability Institute, a group co-founded by Trump’s former top strategist, Steve Bannon, and bankrolled by Trump’s own deep-pocketed funder, Rebekah Mercer.
Watch Nunes’ comments to Cavuto below:
Chairman Nunes: “The people that made the Russians successful [in subverting the election] are the Democrats.” pic.twitter.com/Uln9mStw5K
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 26, 2017