News & Politics

House Intel Chair Nunes Holds Firm in Face of Mounting Pressure from Dems to Step Down: 'Why Would I?'

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

For the past week, Democrats have been conducting a full-court press against House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes in hopes that he will step down from the panel’s probe into Russian activities during the presidential election. Congressional Democrats, with the help of the Obama-friendly media echo chamber, have been out for Nunes’ scalp since his explosive press conference last Wednesday in which he said he had intelligence that leaves no doubt that the Obama administration used the cover of legitimate surveillance on foreign targets to spy on the Trump transition team, and possibly Trump himself. According to sources, the paper trail leaves no other plausible purpose for the unmasking of selected U.S. persons other than “to damage the incoming Trump administration.”

Rep. Nunes (R-Calif.), who served on Trump’s transition team, has openly acknowledged that he met with a source and reviewed this intelligence on the White House grounds the day before the press conference. For Democrats, and a few Republicans (Lindsey Graham, John McCain), his actions raised questions about whether the House committee’s investigation can be unbiased and independent.

Somehow lost in the Democrat/media uproar about Nunes is the question of whether or not his allegations are true.  What is abundantly clear is that he has interfered with the Democrats’ preferred narrative about the Russia probe in a big way, and now they are out for blood. Nunes has thus become this week’s “Emmanuel Goldstein” for the left, subjected to a barrage of criticism until their “two minutes of hate” yields a scalp, or they find another object for their hated.

On Monday, a host of Democrats, including the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), demanded that Nunes recuse himself. 

Senator Chuck Schumer also ramped up criticism of Nunes, calling on House Speaker Paul Ryan to replace him on the committee.

So far, key Republicans are holding firm.

“I just love it when Senator Schumer gives Republicans advice on what we ought to do,” Rep. Trey Gowdy, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said yesterday on Fox News.  “Devin is doing exactly what the chairman is [supposed] to do.”

“I wish Senator Schumer and some of the other Democrats would be interested in the authenticity and reliability of the underlying data [rather than] the means by which it was acquired,” Gowdy said.

He remarked the he wouldn’t care whether Nunes had to privately go to “the White House or Waffle House” to continue his investigation securely.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan also gave Nunes a vote of confidence, telling reporters at a press conference Tuesday that there is no need for Nunes to resign or step aside from House Intel Committee’s probe.

Nunes himself told reporters Tuesday that he’s not going to step down.

“Why would I?” he said when asked if he would be stepping down in response to “growing calls from some lawmakers.”

Nunes dismissed the calls for his recusal as “a lot of politics.”

Asked what he thinks about what is going on this week on Capitol Hill, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said on “Outnumbered” this morning that “this is so dumb. This is beyond belief dumb.”

He continued, “This is a whole committee. If Schiff doesn’t like what Nunes is doing, he can do whatever he wants! Nunes can’t stop Schiff from saying what he wants, asking whatever questions, calling whatever witnesses.” He added, “Now Nunes is in charge, so he’s got some authority during the hearings, but he can’t shut them down.”

O’Reilly argued that unless Democrats can prove some misbehavior on Nunes’ part, they don’t have “a legitimate gripe.”

“This is just grandstanding,” he said.