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Date: 2024-06-25 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00017847

The Trump Presidency
The Impeachment Saga

Devin Nunes and his blind allegiance to Trump is the real danger to the republic

Burgess COMMENTARY

Peter Burgess
EDITORIALS Devin Nunes and his blind allegiance to Trump is the real danger to the republic BY THE FRESNO BEE EDITORIAL BOARD DECEMBER 05, 2019 05:00 AM Play Video Duration 4:10 Nunes: Democrats using Zelenskiy call to 'fulfill Watergate fantasies' Rep. Devin Nunes said during his opening statement in the impeachment inquiry hearing on November 15, 2019 that House Democrats were using President Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian president as an excuse to fulfill their 'Watergate fantasies.' BY C-SPAN 'There are no words to describe how dangerous a slope this is for our republic.' So said Rep. Devin Nunes Wednesday on Ray Appleton’s radio talk show in Fresno. Nunes spoke about the impeachment proceedings now occurring in the House of Representatives that are focused on President Trump. Nunes, the Republican from Tulare, spent several minutes denigrating the proceedings as the “impeachment hoax.” Appleton gave him carte blanche with no challenge. But danger to the nation equally applies to Nunes’ obsession to further Trump’s re-election next year. As has been true for nearly all of Trump’s first term, Nunes has relinquished his proper role as an independent representative of Congress and has instead acted like a member of the Trump 2020 re-election team. SURPRISE CALLS On Tuesday, House Democrats released phone records that show Nunes made multiple calls to Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani and one of his associates, the now-indicted Lev Parnas. The calls came last April during a period when Giuliani was leading a pressure campaign to remove the American ambassador to Ukraine. That campaign was ultimately successful. OPINION Nunes did not immediately say what the calls were about. But the fact he had them led some top Democrats to consider formal discipline against him. The attorney for Parnas has also said Nunes had meetings with a Ukrainian prosecutor to get political dirt on Democrat Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who was once on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. Nunes has said that report, first aired by CNN, is false, and he has reportedly sued the cable news channel over it.


Trump_Impeachment_67114.jpg

Lev Parnas arrives to court in New York, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. Parnas and Igor Fruman, close associates to U.S. President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, were arrested last month at an airport outside Washington while trying to board a flight to Europe with one-way tickets. They were later indicted by federal prosecutors on charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records. Seth Wenig AP PHOTO

For months, Nunes has badmouthed Democrat efforts to uncover whether Trump tried to get Ukraine’s president to launch a corruption investigation into the Bidens. Doing so would inflict political damage on Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.

‘HOAX’ A CHEAP DIG

“There was the Russia hoax,” Nunes told Appleton, referring to the Mueller investigation into whether the Trump campaign worked with Russian officials to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. “Then there is the Ukraine hoax, and now the impeachment hoax.”

Actually, all three “hoaxes” represent legitimate investigations into serious questions. Did the Trump campaign collude with Russia to harm Clinton? Special counsel Robert Mueller left the question open, but provided ample examples of Russian disinformation to influence the election. The president’s call to Ukraine, in which he bargained congressionally approved military aid for an investigation into the Bidens, is a fact verified by the president’s own acting chief of staff. And the impeachment proceedings are trying to determine if that quid pro quo rises to the level of an impeachable offense — a responsibility that rightly falls to Congress.

RECUSE, OR COME CLEAN

As the ranking Republican on the powerful House Intelligence Committee, Nunes holds one of the top posts in Congress. Nunes should have disclosed to his committee colleagues that he had those phone calls last spring. One expert on government ethics took it a step further and said Nunes should have recused himself from the impeachment hearings, rather than acting as No. 1 Trump defender.

To advance the cause of getting at the truth, Nunes should come clean on the phone calls and tell the House what was discussed. He should also provide travel records to debunk the charge that he met in Vienna last December with the Ukrainian to get information that might hurt Biden; Nunes says he was in Libya and Malta.

Short of that, his actions continue to reduce him to being a mere partisan — the label with which he loves to tarnish his Democrat colleagues. Meanwhile, his 22nd District has critical needs, like easing the trade war challenges with China for farmers and helping those struggling in poverty. On such issues, Nunes has been absent; he’s been traveling to Europe.
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The latest revelation deals with Ukraine, the focus of the impeachment hearings, and phone calls Nunes made.



The text being discussed is available at
https://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/editorials/article238047674.html
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