A House Intelligence Committee Democrat is lashing out at the panel’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), following reports that Nunes withheld sensitive information from his Democratic colleagues in the run-up to the 2016 election.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) on Monday labeled Nunes “the President’s fixer in Congress.”
The harsh condemnation comes days after the California Republican divulged that “the House Intelligence Committee” received a September 2016 tip from FBI agents regarding the discovery of a new trove of emails related to the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server. Nunes apparently never shared this information with top Democrats on his own panel.
“From the moment that FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee in March 2017 that a criminal and counterintelligence investigation of Trump-Russia collusion was under way, Devin Nunes has worked as the President’s fixer in Congress rather than lead a bipartisan effort to protect our democracy,” Swalwell said in a statement to TPM.
“There’s plenty of cause for concern that anything he hears or sees goes right to the President, essentially turning over the keys to the FBI’s evidence locker to a subject of an investigation.”
Agents in the FBI’s New York office discovered the Clinton emails while investigating Anthony Weiner, then-husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, for sex crimes. Then-FBI Director James Comey took the unprecedented step of publicly disclosing that the bureau was reopening the Clinton email probe just 11 days before the election. Nine days after that, Comey announced that the emails were irrelevant to the investigation.
On Thursday, Nunes told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that “we had whistleblowers that came to us in New York in late September of 2016, who talked to us about this laptop sitting up in New York that had additional emails on it. The House Intelligence Committee, we had that, but we couldn’t do anything with it.”
“Good FBI agents brought this to our attention,” Nunes added.
Yet Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House Intel Committee, said Sunday that Nunes’ comments were “the first that we’ve heard about it.”
Schiff called this disclosure to Nunes “deeply disturbing.”
“If this was shared by New York field agents with Devin Nunes, was it also shared with Rudy Giuliani?” Schiff said in an interview on NBC News. “Or did Devin Nunes do something which we have seen subsequently, which is coordinate with the Trump team? Was this information shared by the committee with Rudy Giuliani, or shared directly with him?”
The Justice Department inspector general report released last week was inconclusive on the possibility that information leaked through the New York office, or to Giuliani specifically. The IG is expected to more thoroughly address that issue in a subsequent report.