As Americans learned last year about the multiple ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, several investigations opened on many fronts. While the most important, and clearly the most non-partisan investigation that is being conducted is by the Special Counsel’s office, both the House and the Senate Intelligence Committees opened investigations of their own into Russian interference during the 2016 elections.
While all three investigations began like any investigation would, ultimately the only probe that seems to matter now is the one being conducted by Robert Mueller. With a GOP-controlled Senate and House, partisanship has hampered both congressional probes, and now it appears that at least one of these probes, at minimum, is a sham and perhaps even considered a crime on the American people.
In a new op-ed published by the Fresno Bee, California Democrat and House Intelligence Committee member, Eric Swalwell, has opened up about the committee chairman, Devin Nunes’ persistent and pernicious obstruction while leading the investigation in the House.
“Just last week, hours before the Republican-led House recessed for six weeks, Nunes broke out his shovel yet again to bury even deeper the evidence of Russian interference, once again demonstrating there’s no distance he won’t go to protect this president,” wrote Swalwell.
Swalwell goes on to list multiple occasions in which Nunes blatantly and callously went out of his way to cover up key pieces of evidence that the House Intelligence Committee could have easily obtained or uncovered. Below you will find just a handful of the actions taken by Nunes and other Republicans on the committee to hide the facts from not only the American people but also Robert Mueller:
Interview Transcripts Never Released to Public Or Robert Mueller as Promised
Months ago, as the House Intelligence committee wrapped up their investigation into Russian election interference, Nunes and fellow Republicans promised that the transcripts from the extensive interviews of key witnesses within the committee would be released to the American public. They were not.
At a hearing last week on releasing the transcripts, Nunes still wouldn’t allow real transparency.
“Committee Democrats asked to immediately send the transcripts to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who hasn’t been allowed to see them under Nunes’ rules. There’s good reason to believe many witnesses committed perjury or offered information relevant to the special counsel’s work. But Nunes opposed it, and it was voted down,” explains Swalwell. “Committee Democrats then moved to have the transcripts released to the public immediately — after a 10-day intelligence community review — to avoid any selective release or other political manipulation. Again, Nunes opposed this,” Swalwell continued.
Worrisome Contacts Between Russia and Trump, his Family and his Businesses Ignored by Committee
Swalwell explained his frustration at the reckless attitude within the committee, saying, “our investigation did reveal worrisome contacts between the Russians and candidate Trump, his family, his businesses, and his campaign. Yet every time we sought to learn more, we were blocked.”
Nunes and Other Republicans on the Committee Refused to Allow the Committee to Subpoena Travel, Cell Phone and Bank Records
Although there were many leads and reasons to believe that key witnesses were lying to the committee, there was no way to examine the truthfulness of witnesses because Nunes refused to use his subpoena power when necessary. One example of this complete refusal to find the facts is described by Swalwell in the passage below:
“To arrange the infamous June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting, Donald Trump Jr. called his Russian contact, then called a blocked number, and then called his Russian contact back. We had evidence from other witnesses that Donald Trump used a blocked number. Republicans refused to pursue whether it was the same number.”
Disturbing Dana Rohrabacher Interview and Contacts Ignored
Swalwell explains how he was alarmed by the contacts and the committee interview of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, but once again Nunes sought to bury the facts.
“Reviewing his plans, we saw a glaring omission: the transcript of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s interview. I took part in that lengthy interview and I was disturbed by his contacts with Russia before and during the 2015-16 campaign. So Democrats at our hearing moved to release Rohrabacher’s transcript, plus several others; Nunes killed our effort.”
Swalwell, who has been one of the House Intelligence Committee’s most outspoken members throughout the investigation, has been handcuffed by Nunes and other Republicans on the committee. Now Rep Swalwell is endorsing Nunes’ opponent in the 2018 election, prosecutor Andrew Janz.
Swalwell’s complete op-ed can be read here.