Nunes laughably denies Trump ever met indicted staffer, despite photo of them together


Republican Rep. Devin Nunes will say anything to cover for Trump, even if it's obviously not true.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) has been covering up for Donald Trump since his committee's investigation began, but now he's telling lies that are stunning even by his low standards.

Nunes appeared on "Fox & Friends" Monday to echo the White House's new line of attack: accusing Democrats on his committee of "over a hundred" leaks of classified information. But his lies about the Russia investigation stood out even more boldly.

Co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Nunes about the central premise of his debunked intelligence memo, asking him to respond to critics who say, "What about Papadopoulos, they were looking at him earlier? Why don't you look at that?"

Kilmeade was referring to Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty and is now a cooperating witness in the Mueller probe.

Nunes tried to toe the Trump line that Papadopoulos was not a major figure in the campaign.

"As far as we can tell," Nunes said, "Papadopoulos never even knew who Trump was — you know, never even had met with the president."

He then characterized Papadoupolos' boasts about the Russian government having "dirt" on Hillary Clinton as nothing more than "getting drunk in London and talking to diplomats, saying that you don't like Hillary Clinton."

Nunes is already famous for never having read the intelligence that went into his own memo, but he would have needed to avoid the entire internet to have missed the photo of Papadopoulos meeting with Trump as part of his "national security team," which was posted on Trump's instagram — complete with campaign graphics.

George Papadopoulos at Trump campaign meeting 03/31/2016
George Papadopoulos at Trump campaign meeting 03/31/2016 Donald Trump

Nunes' lack of concern over political opinions stands in stark contrast to his party's crusade against FBI agents who expressed a variety of opinions in text messages, but his description of Papadopulos' encounter in London is also a lie. The then-Trump adviser boasted to an Australian diplomat that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin had "dirt" on Clinton, which that diplomat then relayed to U.S. intelligence authorities.

Nunes has proven himself untrustworthy on countless occasions, yet despite a feint at recusing himself, remains entangled in the House investigation into Russia. These blatant lies should be the last straw for any reasonable person, Republican or Democrat.

Last week, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer publicly called on Speaker Paul Ryan to remove Nunes from his role in the intelligence committee. As Pelosi wrote, "The integrity of the House is at stake."

It's time for Ryan to do his job and remove Nunes before he does any more damage.