Mar 29, 2017

Another strike against Devin Nunes

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

A little-noticed detail in a New Yorker article worsens the case against Devin Nunes. Eight paragraphs deep in his story on Nunes yesterday, the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza reveals that a "senior White House official" did some prescient foreshadowing of last Monday's House Intelligence Committee hearing. Here's Lizza:

Last Monday morning, shortly before the start of the hearing, a senior White House official told me, "You'll see the setting of the predicate. That's the thing to watch today." He suggested that I read a piece in The Hill about incidental collection. The article posited that if "Trump or his advisors were speaking directly to foreign individuals who were the target of U.S. spying during the election campaign, and the intelligence agencies recorded Trump by accident, it's plausible that those communications would have been collected and shared amongst intelligence agencies."
The White House clearly indicated to me that it knew Nunes would highlight this issue. "It's backdoor surveillance where it's not just incidental, it's systematic," the White House official said. "Watch Nunes today."

Why this matters

: With the credibility of his Russia investigation under question — even from Republicans — Nunes needs to prove he hasn't colluded with the Trump administration. Lizza's reporting surely doesn't help.

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