Surprise, surprise, surprise.
Dog days after Devin Nunes: New GOP leaders of House Russia probe aren’t much of an improvement
by Simon Maloy, Salon
Thursday, Apr 6, 2017
While this represents a nice morsel of comeuppance for a politician who’d turned his own committee into a humiliating clown show, there’s little reason to believe the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign will be much improved by Nunes’ absence. He’s already done enough damage to the inquiry’s credibility, and the committee members he elevated to assume control of the probe aren’t exactly models of sober professionalism.
Per Nunes’ statement, Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, will be taking over the Russia investigation, with assistance from Reps. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and Tom Rooney, R-Florida. Conaway, a staunch backer of Trump’s presidential campaign, has already telegraphed his belief that the Russian electoral interference he’s investigating just isn’t that big a deal.
In January, Conaway argued that Russian cyberattacks against Democratic political figures were on par with Democrats using “Mexican soap opera stars, singers and entertainers” to “entertain, get out the vote and so forth” in Latino communities. “Those are foreign actors, foreign people, influencing the vote,” the new leader of the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe observed. “You don’t hear the Democrats screaming and saying one word about that.” The Dallas Morning News asked Conaway if he really believed that a campaign event with a telenovela stars is on the same plane as foreign cyberespionage. “Sure it is,” he said. “It’s foreign influence.”
Gowdy’s elevation to second banana in the Russia probe is also interesting. You probably remember Gowdy from his starring role as the chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which spent more than two years burning through millions of dollars only to arrive at the same conclusions as all the previous congressional inquiries into Benghazi.
These are the guys who will be tasked with dragging Nunes’ Russia investigation out of the capacious ditch he drove it into — which is to say that we should not expect the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia inquiry to be healthy or credible any time soon.
If you think Trump’s offenses are impeachable you’re exactly correct. Anything is impeachable including bad choices in diet (“I’m sorry Sir. My Chef refuses to serve beef well done and I pay him much more every hour than your bill. I invite you to patronize another establishment. Have a nice day.”) because it’s a political act. If you want Trump gone before 2018 you’ll have to convince Republicans to do it.