The Daily Beast again tried to smear Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) in an article citing one anonymous source and using innuendo to make it appear as though Nunes had done something wrong.
The article, authored by two Beast writers, was titled “Nunes Tries to Use Steele Dossier to Defend Trump During Closed-Door Hearing.” The meat of the article is that this was somehow “oddly divorced from the topic at hand–namely, whether Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate one of his political opponents.”
The Beast quoted a source saying Nunes’ mention of the Steel Dossier was “nutso” and “awkward.”
The Beast wrote that “Nunes’ decision to bring up the dossier generated some raised eyebrows.”
Except, it shouldn’t have. The dossier was compiled by ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who performed the research on behalf of Fusion GPS, which was hired by law firm Perkins Coie, which was hired by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Much of the dossier has either been discredited or is yet unproven despite a massive attempt by the media and Democrats to prove its most salacious claims.
Nunes asked about the dossier while the U.S. envoy to the European Union, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, testified privately about President Donald Trump’s call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. Nunes, as the Beast reported, brought up the dossier to explain why Trump may have been skeptical about working with Ukraine.
The Beast also reported that “Democrats view [Republicans’] focus on the document as conspiratorial and odd.” Democrats say that now, after the funding source of the dossier has been revealed and some of its claims have been discredited.
Before that, it was the Democrats who heavily pushed the dossier. Rep. Adam Schiff read some of the dossiers unproven allegations into the congressional record during his opening statement prior to former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony in March 2017. The dossier was also covered extensively in the media after CNN reported its existence and Buzzfeed published the entire uncorroborated document.
Also, bringing up the dossier in connection with Trump’s frustration toward Ukraine is not “conspiratorial and odd.” Fusion GPS researcher Nellie Ohr testified to Congress that former Ukrainian parliamentarian Serhiy Leshchenko was one of her employer’s sources. Leshchenko briefly advised Zelensky after he was elected, but was no longer an adviser at the time of the phone call between Trump and Zelensky. This wasn’t included in the Beast article. In fact, the Beast doesn’t appear to have covered Ohr’s testimony at all.
The only indication that someone from Nunes’ camp was asked about the allegations in the article was a single sentence, which read, “A Nunes spokesperson said the congressman has made the argument described above in public.”
That spokesperson, Jack Langer, told The Daily Wire that this is not what he told the Beast author. Langer’s actual one-sentence response to a Beast inquiry was: “The Daily Beast and its regular cabal of Democrat leakers don’t seem to realize they are claiming that Rep. Nunes made the same argument behind closed doors that he’s repeatedly made in public.”
He didn’t simply say Nunes had made the argument in public, he said it appeared the Beast was unaware he had as it went forward writing an article to try and make Nunes look dumb. While quoting an anonymous source, the Beast didn’t quote a Nunes spokesperson.
“The Daily Beast does not practice journalism, it’s just a Pravda-like messaging apparatus for the Democrats and resistance leakers,” Langer told the Wire. “They flout fundamental journalism ethics and won’t even print responses they themselves request if the statements counter their narrative. They’re scribes and mouthpieces for their ridiculous anonymous sources, and they’ll regurgitate whatever dreck these unknown people spoonfeed to them.”
This is just the latest in a long line of examples from the Beast trying to attack Nunes.
In January 2018, two Beast reporters claimed that Nunes avoided answering a question during a closed-door House Intelligence Committee hearing about whether the White House had helped him write a memo blasting the Intelligence Community. Once the transcript of the meeting was released, it showed Nunes did answer the question by saying: “I would just answer, as far as I know, no.” He then criticized House Democrats for refusing to cooperate with Republicans’ investigation into FISA abuse.
When asked again about coordinating with the White House, Nunes said “The chair is not going to entertain,” before being cut off. The Beast’s headline, subheadline, and lede were all incorrect, but remain with an update regarding the transcript.
The Daily Wire has previously called out the Beast’s reporting on Nunes. In January 2019, the outlet implied that Nunes may be caught up in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. To make the point, the Beast titled its article: “Mueller Probes an Event With Nunes, Flynn, and Foreign Officials at Trump’s D.C. Hotel.” The subheadline read: “Devin Nunes has been a pitbull for the president, growling at the prosecutors investigating Trumpworld. Now an event that Nunes himself attended is under Mueller’s microscope.” The photo included with the article included three pictures of Nunes all with a red tint. The lede also suggested nefarious actions on the part of Nunes.
The story, however, offered no evidence that Nunes had done anything wrong, and even acknowledged in the fourth paragraph that Nunes “has not been accused of any wrongdoing.” In fact, Nunes was not mentioned even once in Mueller’s final report.
In another, related story, the Beast tried to use that same event to smear Nunes in a different way. The article was titled: “Feds Eye Imaad Zuberi, Financier With Alleged Ties to Michael Cohen, Devin Nunes, and Qatar.”
As the Wire noted at the time, the only “ties” to Nunes was that the two were supposed to attend the same event – the one the Beast previously tried to smear Nunes with. The problem was, Zuberi didn’t even attend the event, but he did show up at the end to talk with people who were exiting. As far as we know, Nunes was not one of them.