This morning, the Associated Press reported that Paul Manafort once had a contract with a Putin ally in which he agreed to help influence American politics on behalf of Russia. Years later, he works as Chairman of the Trump campaign FOR FREE for a crucial six-month period, which included the period in which the DNC was hacked and Jeff Sessions (among others) met with a Russian ambassador.
Meanwhile, Michael Flynn was also fired as National Security Advisor a month into the role, because of contacts between himself and the same Russian ambassador during the transition, over sanctions against Russia.
Today, this happened:
BREAKING: House Oversight Committee requests documents from White House, FBI on any communications, payments between Flynn and Russia— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) March 22, 2017
But that’s just the beginning. Recall that the contacts with Russia that got Michael Flynn in trouble were the ones that took place during the transition.
Now it’s being reported that, during a press briefing today, Devin Nunes — the Republican Leader of the House Intelligence Committee — found out that members of the Trump transition team were being surveilled by the Obama administration. This surveillance, however, was legal and part of a FISA court order. In fact, surveillance of Trump transition members was only incidental because the FISA warrant was for the foreign agents with whom Trump transition members were communicating.
Nunes confirmed:— Bradley P. Moss, Esq (@BradMossEsq) March 22, 2017
1) Trump wasn't target. Was incidental collection.
2) Trump team was likely talking to agents of a foreign power.
Meanwhile, Nunes is — for some reason — going to the White House today to brief Trump on the fact that members of his transition team — and possibly Trump himself — were being surveilled. HE’S GOING TO BRIEF A MAN UNDER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION ABOUT DETAILS OF THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION.
That’s not right.
Nunes seems to want to spin this as proof that Trump was wire tapped, although the surveillance was incidental, and it did not take place in Trump Tower, and who the hell was Trump or his transition staff talking to that they’d get caught up in incidental surveillance, anyway? Did Nunes just dig a deeper hole for Trump while trying to prove Trump’s bullshit claims?
The other twist here, however, is that — according to Nunes — it has nothing to do with the Russian investigation.
Nunes: The information that I have seen re: Trump has nothing to do with the Russia investigation— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 22, 2017
Nunes on incidental collection of Trump communications: "It looks to me like it was all legally collected"— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 22, 2017
Nunes says the info was brought to him by a source; he briefed Speaker Ryan this morning. Going to White House— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 22, 2017
Nunes says Trump communications were caught in "normal incidental collection…normal foreign surveillance"— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 22, 2017
Nunes: "None of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team"— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 22, 2017
Twist number three is that Nunes was on the Trump transition team, so it’s possible that he was incidentally surveilled, and while Nunes is trying to spin this as proof of Trump’s Twitter claims, the real story here is that Trump and/or his transition members were incidentally captured as part of surveillance of foreign agents.
Recall, too, that last month, we found out that Sean Spicer had reached out to Devin Nunes (as well as the head of the CIA) in an attempt to use them to discredit the stories about Russia. Nunes confirmed that at the time, and this story may or may not ultimately fit within that category, but it sure as hell muddies the water and suggests that Nunes needs to step the hell down and an independent investigator be brought on board.
Nunes doesn't really know what, how much, or how intel was collected. The sources are vague. BUT HE'S TELLING THE WHITE HOUSE!— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) March 22, 2017
Devin Nunes was a member of Trump's small transition team. Isn't announcing this and informing WH obstruction of this investigation?— Jennifer Hayden (@Scout_Finch) March 22, 2017
If Nunes is shaping incidental collection to fit Trump's absurd wiretapping claim, this demonstrates why #IndependentCommission needed badly— State of Resistance (@AltStateDpt) March 22, 2017
Also, given how classified information like that would be, how is Nunes discussing it publicly? https://t.co/xmBdv6i9aX— Zachary Keck (@ZacharyKeck) March 22, 2017
This is kinda nuts. There's an active investigation! https://t.co/RrZajNHecp— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 22, 2017
Some sh*t is going down right now, folks. Some real shady sh*t.