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Devin Nunes protects witnesses who might have committed perjury

Devin Nunes is refusing to comply with requests to release transcripts that appear to confirm that key witnesses lied during congressional testimony.

By Caroline Orr - June 07, 2018
Devin Nunes

Devin Nunes, chairman of the House intelligence committee, is best known for staging stunts to shield Trump from scrutiny in the ongoing Russia investigation. But now, Nunes is extending the cover-up to include key witnesses who may have perjured themselves while testifying before the committee.

The committee’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, called on Nunes two weeks ago to release transcripts from all interviews they conducted related to the Russia investigation, saying they could shed “additional light on the issues of collusion and obstruction of justice.”

Schiff also noted that it appears that some of those witnesses lied to the committee, and said special counsel Robert Mueller’s team “should consider whether perjury charges are warranted.”

But two weeks after Schiff wrote the letter to Nunes requesting that he release the transcripts, Nunes has failed to even respond to the request, NBC News reported on Thursday.

In an interview with Mother Jones, Schiff said he has previously asked Nunes to provide Mueller’s team with transcripts pertaining to specific witnesses who may have perjured themselves, but that Nunes “would not commit to sharing this material with Mueller.”

Schiff also noted that Mueller has told the committee he is interested in scrutinizing the testimony of certain witnesses, but that it will be up to Nunes to decide whether or not to comply with any formal requests from Mueller.

While Schiff didn’t say which witnesses Mueller wants to scrutinize more closely, he told NBC News that “the testimony of Don Jr., Erik Prince, Roger Stone and others is inconsistent with the public reports of meetings, conversations and other facts that have now been established.”

“And so if those public reports are accurate, then clearly they were not telling the truth,” Schiff added.

Indeed, recent reports suggest that Don Jr. may have lied to Congress repeatedly when discussing the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Among other things, Don Jr. failed to disclose his father’s involvement in crafting a misleading statement meant to deceive the public about the true purpose of the meeting.

Another recent report calls into question the testimony of Trump ally and Blackwater founder Erik Prince, who told Congress in November 2017 that he had no formal communication or contact with the Trump campaign.

As it turns out, Prince actually attended the August 2016 Trump Tower meeting with key campaign aides and an Israeli social media specialist offering a “multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort” to help Trump win.

Meanwhile, longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone appears to have lied to the committee about his contact with WikiLeaks when he testified that his only communication took place through an intermediary. After he gave that testimony, the Atlantic published a series of direct messages between Stone and WikiLeaks from October 2016.

Schiff wants answers about these discrepancies, but Nunes apparently isn’t interested in finding out the truth or holding these witnesses accountable for potentially committing perjury.

This is not the first time Republicans have shut down efforts by Schiff and his Democratic colleagues to release transcripts from interviews with key witnesses.

When Republicans unilaterally shut down the committee’s Russia probe and released an incomplete and widely criticized report on the findings in April, Democrats pushed to include transcripts from interviews with more than 60 witnesses.

However, despite publicly stating that they supported the release of the transcripts, Republicans voted to block the move.

Schiff told NBC News that he thinks Republicans want to keep the transcripts under wraps because they don’t want the public to see how often they “acted as defense lawyers for the president rather than true investigators.”

“Apparently the public will have to wait until the majority changes to see what kind of investigation the majority was doing,” Schiff said.

“I think probably the reason why the Republicans decided to renege on their commitment is, the transcripts reveal among other things how often the majority acted as defense lawyers for the president rather than true investigators,” he said. “And I think they’re embarrassed by that.”

And they should be embarrassed.

When House intel Republicans claimed in their report that they found “no evidence of collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia, they did so without even interviewing a host of key witnesses, including four Trump associates who are under indictment by special counsel Mueller.

The GOP-led panel also ignored evidence that the NRA may have served as a conduit between the Trump campaign and Russia, and failed to look at evidence showing that a key Trump associate was in contact with an operative working for Russia’s military intelligence agency.

And now, in the face of evidence that appears to confirm that several of the witnesses they did interview lied during their testimony, Nunes and his fellow Trump sycophants are refusing to even look into the matter.

This, of course, raises a simple but crucial question: What are Republicans so afraid of finding that they don’t even want to look?

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