'The deep state, for lack of a better term, got to him,' Nunes said.
Devin Nunes has never allowed the truth to stand in the way of his quest to undermine the FBI's Russia investigation — but Nunes outdid himself this week by claiming that the "deep state" conspiracy against Trump has somehow also enlisted Trump himself.
During an interview on Monday, radio host Trevor Carey asked Nunes why a cache of documents that Trump ordered declassified and released last week hasn't come out yet.
Nunes has been pushing Trump to order these documents released — despite strong objections from the Department of Justice that doing so would undermine national security — because Nunes claims the documents would somehow prove the FBI was biased against Trump.
"What is the hold up? I thought we were going to see that this week?" Carey asked of the document release.
Nunes responded that Trump "was very clear on Monday" when he ordered the documents to be released last week.
"And then, I think what you saw happen is that the deep state, for lack of a better term, got to him," Nunes said, adding that he thought embattled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was "likely ... in the middle of this."
Nunes went on to mock the serious national security concerns that officials have raised over the release of the documents.
"They cry wolf, and they say 'Oh my god, we're going to destroy national security,' but they have used that excuse way too many times," Nunes said.
But in reality, what Nunes refers to as the shadowy "deep state" is basically the entire U.S. Department of Justice.
And when Nunes claims that DOJ officials somehow "got to" Trump to convince him to work against his own interests, Nunes is talking about appointees who were hand-picked by Trump.
Shortly after Trump ordered the "immediate declassification" of a raft of documents related to the Russia investigation, officials from the agencies involved — led by Trump's own director of national intelligence, Dan Coats — began reviewing the materials to determine which portions should remain secret.
By Friday of last week, Trump announced on Twitter that the declassification review was under way. He admitted that "key Allies" had expressed concerns about releasing the material without redactions — but he also reserved the right to ignore those redactions.
"In the end I can always declassify if it proves necessary," Trump tweeted.
One of the documents Nunes wants to see fully declassified and unredacted is the original FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) application to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, a document that Nunes has been obsessed with for well over a year.
Nunes has promised bombshell results from declassified materials related to this warrant in the past, only to have those promises blow up in his face.
Earlier this year, Nunes hyped a memo about the FISA application that was supposed to definitively prove the FBI's supposed bias against Trump.
In July, heavily redacted versions of the FISA documents were released at Nunes' urging — above the objections of Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray — and those documents showed even more conclusively that Nunes’ attacks on the Russia investigation were all lies.
Along with the full FISA application, Trump also ordered the release of FBI interviews and reports related to the Russia investigation, as well as unredacted text messages between FBI and Justice Department officials.
The fact that Trump has been shamed into slowing down this process by his own officials and America's closest allies doesn't show that he's been captured by some "deep state" conspiracy.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.