**UPDATE BELOW: Nunes cancels public hearing**
Hours after House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes held two press conferences to say he had seen information confirming that Donald Trump and/or his associates were incidentally surveilled between November and January, I wrote:
“Nunes sounds like a person who either does not firmly believe what he is saying, or is unsure of the completeness of the information he has been given by a source. Or both.”
Now it turns out that is exactly the case:
“The head of the House Intelligence Committee partially backed away from his dramatic claim that officials in President Trump’s transition team had been subjects of surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies, with an aide saying that Chairman Devin Nunes did not know ‘for sure.’
“But until Nunes sees the actual documents, he does not know whether any of the transition officials were actually part of the surveilled conversations or were just talked about by others, spokesman Jack Langer said Thursday.
“’He’ll have to get all the documents he requested from the [intelligence community] about this before he knows for sure,’ Langer said.”
Unreal. Basically, the information Nunes saw was so vague it didn’t indicate whether Trump’s team had been surveilled themselves, or if others — unconnected to Trump — were being surveilled and merely mentioned names of Trump team members. So Nunes has no idea if Trump and his associates were actually surveilled, which to remind, was the entire point of his announcement and subsequent press conferences.
To be entirely forthright, I gave Nunes too much credit on Wednesday. Not even I thought he would have used mentions of Trump’s team by other parties picked up during surveillance as evidence of “incidental collection” to use as justification for the crap he pulled on Wednesday. Yet he did. And that shows just how unfit he is to lead this investigation.
As a member of Trump’s transition team — a prime focus of the investigation — it was already incumbent upon Nunes to recuse himself just as Attorney General Jeff Sessions had done in the Justice Department’s inquiry. Nunes’ antics on Wednesday left no doubt that he cannot be an impartial inquisitor in this matter. As long as Nunes remains in charge, the House investigation into any connections between Trump and Russia will be a farce until proven otherwise.
UPDATE: Shortly after this piece was published, Devin Nunes announced that he is canceling a public hearing on Tuesday with members of the Obama administration, according to Politico. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates were all scheduled to testify.