What the Heck is Going On with Devin Nunes?

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7 mins read

On Wednesday the Daily Beast reported that indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas helped arrange meetings and calls in Europe for Devin Nunes to help with his “investigations.”

Then on Thurs. came that dramatic moment in Fiona Hill’s testimony when Rep. Swalwell read parts of the Daily Beast article into the record and said Nunes may be a “fact witness if he was working with indicted individuals around our investigation.”

On Friday we learned that Lev Parnas wants to testify before Congress.

What he has to say is this: Last December, Nunes and a few aides went to Vienna and met with Viktor Shokin.

Who is Shokin?

He’s the ex-Ukrainian prosecutor fired in 2016 at the urging of Biden—backed up by the US international allies and Ukrainian popular support—because he wasn’t cracking down on corruption.

Kurt Volker testified that when Joe Biden encouraged Ukraine to fire Shokin, Biden was “executing U.S. policy at the time and what was widely understood internationally to be the right policy.”

Now Shokin has an axe to grind against Biden.

Congressional records show that Nunes and three aides flew to Europe on Nov. 30, 2018 and returned Dec. 3, at a cost to taxpayers of 63K.

CNN pointed out that the timing of the visit (before the Dems took over Congress) was significant because Nunes could slip through the expenses without oversight from Democrats, allowing him to defraud taxpayers by using office travel money for what Fiona Hill characterized as a “political errand.” [Looking for / manufacturing dirt on Democrats]

The timing is also significant because that was the same time what we might call Operation Ukraine Shakedown kicked off, with Giuliani meeting with former Ukrainian prosecutors hunting down [manufactured] dirt on Biden.

The shakedown plot built on narratives created earlier, but you can see from my timeline that late 2018 when the plot got going.

It doesn’t matter whether or not Parnas is a reliable witness.

If Nunes is innocent, it should be easy for him to prove that with documents.

When anyone (let alone a Congressman and aides traveling on taxpayer money) takes a trip to Europe, there’s a paper trail documenting where they went and what they did.

Let Nunes show the “official” business.

Plus Nunes had some aides (witnesses) with him.

About the same time Nunes was allegedly meeting Shokin, Giuliani was also meeting Shokin.

[Narrator: The plot thickens]

In January 2019: Giuliani asked the State Department to grant a visa so Shokin could visit the U.S. The request was denied.

George Kent testified that Shokin was “very unfavorably known to us,” and they don’t grant visas to people with his history of corruption.

Narrator: Giuliani and Nunes have such nice friends. [That was written in the sarcasm font.]

On Friday evening, not long after the Lev Parnas-Nunes story broke, we learned from the documents released by the State Department that a March 28 email includes a list of scheduled calls for Pompeo.

Calls include Rudy Giuliani on March 29, and Nunes on April 1.

What a coincidence! That was just after Solomon published his hit piece on Yovanovitch.

The Ukrainian Shakedown, remember, rests on the harebrained theories that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, the DNC server is hidden in Ukraine, and Biden did something corrupt.

Trump is accused of abusing his power (using his office) to get dirt on a political opponent.

It’s what Fiona Hill called a ‘political errand,’ which is not properly part of American foreign policy because it benefits Trump [and the GOP] politically.

If these allegations are true, Nunes did the exact same thing.

Nunes, too, used his office and taxpayer money to dig up [manufacture] dirt on the likely 2020 Democratic nominee.

In other words, Nunes was part of the conspiracy he is supposed to be investigating.

This helps explain Nunes’ maniacal intensity during the hearings when he kept insisting (with table-pounding fury) that those harebrained theories about Ukraine and the Bidens were completely true.

Nunes’ point: Trump was justified in taking them seriously.

We listened to witness after witness debunk those theories.

Nunes consistently ignored the expert testimony and ranted about how the theories were fully supported by the evidence, and Trump had every right to believe them (and act on them).

Nunes also didn’t hear the expert testimony about how—even if the president did have grounds to believe those theories—there were proper legal channels and procedures for asking for investigations.

While listening to Nunes rant, I wondered: Did Devin Nunes believe what he’s saying? Or was he intentionally trying to corrupt democracy by subverting the truth?

(Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between evil and obtuse–but of course, they’re not mutually exclusive.)

Notice that Trump and pals are not only exploiting divisions in the U.S. for their own political purposes—they’re exploiting divisions (and previous pain) in Ukraine for Trump’s political purposes.

They are creating pain and discord.

Here’s the question: Is Nunes defending himself as well as Trump in the impeachment inquiry?

A government built on rule of law doesn’t permit a person to be both a defendant and the judge.

Nunes does not get to decide whether or not his own behavior was legal.

[Read as a Twitter thread]

Originally posted on MUSING ABOUT LAW, BOOKS, AND POLITICS.
Re-posted with permission.


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Teri has written novels, short stories, nonfiction for both young readers and adults, and lots of legal briefs. She is currently working on a book on disinformation to be published by Macmillan Publishers. Her political commentary has appeared on the NBC Think Blog and CNN.com. Her articles and essays have appeared in publications as diverse as Education Week, Slate Magazine, and Scope Magazine. Her short fiction has appeared in the American Literary View, The Iowa Review, and others. For twelve years she maintained a private appellate law practice limited to representing indigents on appeal from adverse rulings. She believes with the ACLU that when the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled. She also believe with John Updike that the purpose of literature is to expand our sympathies. Teri lives with her family on the beautiful central coast in California.

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