Sunday, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) said “it’s pretty clear” that politically hostile actors within federal intelligence agencies are seeking to damage Donald Trump’s presidency and administration.
In an interview with Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace for Fox News Sunday, Nunes indirectly - and perhaps inadvertently - alluded to a New York Times report that Barack Obama “scrambled” in the last days of his presidency to spread information across the federal government regarding “Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election … [and] … possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians.”
Without speculating on their political motivations, Nunes accepted the premise that "elements inside the intelligence community" are seeking to damage Trump's presidency and administration:
WALLACE: Do you believe that there are elements inside the intelligence community or the FBI that are leaking information, like the name of Mike Flynn, like perhaps the fact that Attorney General Sessions met with the Russian ambassador to undercut the Trump presidency?
NUNES: I think that's pretty clear. And, in fact, I mean there’s been --
WALLACE: Pretty clear what?
NUNES: It's pretty clear that that's happening. There's even been stories written about it in -- in numerous newspapers talking about how they said -- they left breadcrumbs around to hurt the Trump administration.
WALLACE: So you believe that there are people inside these intelligence communities --
NUNES: I don't think so anymore. I think it was largely people maybe who were there, had classified information, who are now no longer there and decided to leak it.
WALLACE: To what end?
NUNES: I think to hurt -- I mean clearly to leak Michael Flynn's name talking to the Russian ambassador. That was clearly designed to hurt General Flynn and -- and the president's national security advisor.
Nunes’ exchange with Wallace connects to a broader narrative mostly pushed by Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other conservative and dissident news media figures of a “deep state” seeking to subvert Trump’s agenda.
Left-wing and Democrat-aligned news media outlets such as The New York Times, CNN, and The Washington Post have been more schizophrenic regarding their takes on the “deep state” narrative, with opinions ranging from complete dismissal to support for intelligence operatives sabotaging the Trump administration.
Nunes did not rule out the possibility that the Obama administration directed surveillance of Trump and/or his associates during the president’s former capacities as Republican presidential nominee and president-elect.
Michael Flynn's name being leaked to The New York Times and The Washington Post, said Nunes, was "the one crime we know that's been committed." The "unmasking" of Flynn's name in connection with a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, he added, would be investigated.
Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, will oversee a hearing on Monday in which F.B.I. Director James Comey will be questioned on the aforementioned issues.
Here's Nunes' segment with Wallace:
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