He wants to know exactly how and why the counterintelligence operation was opened on the Trump campaign, and expects to hear it tomorrow.
Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Ca.) has some simple advice for Rod Rosenstein. “Just come clean.” Turn over all the records that republicans on the House Intelligence Committee demanded, spelling out the boundaries of Robert Mueller’s so-called “special investigation,” and do it now.
“Tomorrow, we’re going to go back,” he vowed on Tuesday. “They have questions that we left for them to answer for us this week, and I think we’ll have another productive session.” Nunes wants solid who, how, when, and why answers from the DOJ and is prepared to use all methods available, short of waterboarding the Deputy Attorney General, to get them.
Nunes dismisses the Justice Department objections as nothing but a smokescreen. “Nobody is asking for sources. Nobody is asking for methods. Let’s lay all the cards out on the table. Here is what happened and how this counterintelligence investigation was opened.”
The committee doesn’t trust everything that Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson had to say in his testimony, but they do think he was telling the truth when he told investigators about a mole inside President Donald Trump’s election campaign.
“I think if the campaign was somehow set up,” the intelligence chairman ventured, “that would be a problem, right? If there were somehow meetings that occurred and all of this was a setup.”
Nunes believes that is the true reason for all of the stonewalling. “We have yet to see any credible evidence or intelligence that led to the opening of this investigation.”
Nunes and his committee want to drag the whole mess out into the open so it can be cleaned up. They are trying to give “clarity and sunlight” to the American public “so they know everything that happened on how this investigation began.”
Nunes pointed out, that Fusion GPS “was hired by the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign to draw up a dossier on the president.” They did it at the height of a hotly contested election which makes it worse, he notes.
In testimony to Congress last August, which was supposed to stay secret, Simpson insisted there was a spy inside the Trump campaign that backed up “parts of the dossier.” He told the watchdog committee “a human source from inside the Trump organization… decided to pick up the phone and report something.”
Which “parts” were confirmed, nobody knows. No matter what they were, the simple fact there was corroboration influenced a court decision to grant wiretap warrants for Trump Tower.
That is the great thing about things that are classified. Nobody knows what lies under the magic marker blackouts.
As soon as the full transcript was leaked to the public, everyone connected to Simpson and Fusion GPS frantically tried to say it was incorrect. They tried to pin it on George Papadopoulos, which would help spin things back in the direction they wanted them to go.
Simpson’s lawyers went on record officially noting that their client “reconfirmed” what he said on the stand. The committee sent a letter point blank asking If the news reports that Simpson was “mistaken” were true. “Mr. Simpson stands by his testimony,” Joshua Levy replied.
That is one of the biggest reasons Chairman Nunes believes Simpson on this particular issue even though he thinks some self-serving “misstatements” were made in his testimony generally.
“Glenn Simpson said that in what was closed testimony. Then it became public. Now he’s confirmed that he was telling Congress the truth, which is probably a good idea.”
Nunes revealed some of the panel’s strategy. “We believe he was telling the truth and what we’re trying to do is get the documents to figure out, [what] did they actually have, what methods were used to open this counterintelligence investigation?”
If it turns out that there really was an inside spy, it would “look badly on the Department of Justice and the FBI on how they conducted this investigation,” Nunes proclaimed.
“Counterintelligence investigations” are meant to prove or disprove allegations of espionage, sabotage, assassination, or other national security crimes carried out by foreigners. They aren’t meant to be used for targeting Americans. Especially not an American running for President.
“I believe they never should have opened a counterintelligence investigation into a political party,” Nunes explains. Those types of operations “are very rarely done, but they happen.”
When they do happen, “you have to be very careful because you’re using the tools of our intelligence services and relationships with other countries in order to spy on a political campaign.”
“That’s probably not a good idea,” Nunes adds.
Andrew McCarthy from the National Review Institute backs Nunes up. Even before the Chairman made his public statement, McCarthy wrote an article expressing his faith in Simpson’s testimony about a Trump insider.
“Simpson’s initial testimony was not a mistake,” he writes. Simpson’s cronies “realized the significance of his statement and walked it back after the testimony was released.”
As a formal federal prosecutor, McCarthy confirms that the mole in question is most likely the same individual at the heart of the battle between the Committee and the DOJ since May 8. That is when the world learned of a “top-secret,” “American” source that “provided information about the Trump campaign to the special counsel’s office.”
Rosenstein has been frantically trying to keep the identity of the source under wraps because he insists not only would their life be in danger, it would jeopardize international diplomacy.