Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, suggested on Fox News Monday evening that Democrats are “back channeling” with Special Counsel Robert Mueller ahead of his testimony to craft a particular “narrative.”
Nunes raised the suggestion during an interview with Sean Hannity, The Washington Examiner reported.
"I fear what's going on right now is that Mueller is working with a lot of his staff who are back channeling to the Democrats, and so it is very possible that Mueller is going to have a few little sound bites that are going to give the Democrats exactly what they want," Nunes said.
House Democrats announced that Mueller’s testimony, originally scheduled for this week, would be pushed back until July 24. Nunes claimed there’s “got to be a reason for it,” before suggesting Mueller was working with Democrats to figure out what he would say.
Democrats complained after the scheduling of Mueller’s testimony that they wouldn’t have enough time to question him — or rather, give speeches for their campaign videos. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) then worked out a deal with Mueller to push his testimony back a week.
Nunes also said Monday night that this “back channeling” had likely already occurred when Attorney General William P. Barr issued a statement on Mueller’s final report on his investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia to steal the election. Mueller concluded the evidence did not support collusion.
“Remember, [Bill] Barr came out with [then-Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein, and issued a statement, right? He issued a statement. And then a few days later, somebody got to Mueller where Mueller needed to come out ... and make a nine and a half minute statement. Then of course, later, he had to rectify it," Nunes said.
Hannity mentioned Fox News reporting that Democrats were worried Mueller’s testimony might backfire.
It would not be the first time Democrats worked with House witnesses behind the scenes before pivotal testimony.
The Daily Wire previously reported that staffers for Schiff met with former Trump attorney Michael Cohen four times in New York for a total of 10 hours before his House testimony in February. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) called the meetings “unusual,” and wondered if Cohen was being coached by Democrats to say something that would damage Trump.
Schiff claimed, “The extent of my contact was just inviting him to testify and also trying to allay his concerns about the President's threats against him and his family, but our staff certainly sat down to interview him and that's what you do in any credible investigation.”
Jordan asked how “that takes 10 hours?”
Schiff also met with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson before Simpson testified in 2017. Schiff has continued to investigate Trump and insist he has “ample” evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, insisting Mueller missed a lot of information.
In reality, it was Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign that worked with Russia by paying law firm Perkins Coie to hire Fusion GPS to dig up opposition research on Trump. Fusion GPS hired ex-British Intelligence Officer Christopher Steele to ask his Russian contacts for dirt on Trump, much of which has been discredited and none of which has been corroborated.