Sometimes one has to sit back and remind oneself of what reality is supposed to look like. It is especially important when one learns that the second highest member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence admits he was in contact with Parnas. Parnas is a man who is charged with felonies and has evidence to back it up. Nunes made the admission despite previously stating he did not know Parnas. Yes, Devin Nunes now admits he at least was in contact with a main witness and is deeply involved in the entire matter.
Parnas admitted that he had only limited direct contact with Nunes, but only because Nunes worried about the appearance of his conflict (Nunes knows about the appearances of a conflict given he has already been caught carrying the White House’s water). Thus Nunes did his work with Parnas through an aide. Via Rawstory:
“We don’t have too much of a relationship,” Parnas said of Nunes. “We met several times at the Trump Hotel, but our relationship started getting — basically where it expanded was when I was introduced to his aide, Derek Harvey, and the reason why Derek Harvey I was told because Devin Nunes had an ethics — something to do with the Ethics Committee, he couldn’t be in the spotlight. He was kind of shunned a little bit and that he was looking into this Ukraine stuff also, wanted to help out. And they gave me Derek Harvey to deal with.”
This is surely true. Why would Parnas admit he had only a few contacts with Nunes, and how would Parnas know the name of Nunes’ aide? It is true, and even Nunes admitted last night on Fox that he actually had met with Parnas, countering his own lie from just months ago.
If Nunes had to send an aide to assist Parnas, because of potential appearances of a conflict, there is no doubt that Nunes’ aide Harvey told Nunes of each new development, and probably got instructions.
Parnas did note that he had limited involvement with Nunes because Nunes was already deeply involved in “opposition research,” the euphemism utilized to cover the whole Biden operation:
Maddow asked if Parnas got the idea that Rudy Giuliani had briefed Nunes, but Parnas said he didn’t think so, because there was a group of people working on opposition research for the campaigns.
Nunes was running a similar operation parallel to the work done by Rudy and Lev? It certainly appears so, and that fits with what we know about Nunes’s strange travel to Eastern Europe. But even parallel involvement is still shocking involvement. In fact, it may be more shocking, as Nunes may be more culpable for his own ideas and own independent actions.
Meanwhile, Nunes’ aide Harvey plunged even deeper into the scandal, undoubtedly keeping Nunes informed every step of the way:
Parnas went on to say that he set up “several Skype interviews” with people for Harvey including a key anti-corruption prosecutor in Ukraine as well as Konstantin Kulik, deputy head of the Department of International Legal Cooperation of the General Prosecutor’s Office in Ukraine.
The top Republican congressional official charged with minority oversight into the entire Ukraine crime is now confirmed to have known of the crime and was involved – or at least fully informed – in the very crime the committee was charged with investigating. Yes, we already had the phone numbers with Nunes’s number on the phone, but that alone doesn’t prove involvement in the criminal aspects – perhaps it could have been passed off as fundraising.
Except it wasn’t fundraising. Nunes knew of the entire thing, and it will likely be confirmed upon an interrogation of Harvey, who has to suddenly find a way to disassociate his own ass from all this, since working as an aide on the committee – as he did – would still have been a massive conflict of interest.
I am starting to think that shock fatigue has allowed some of the most unsettling and infuriating facts in this matter to slip by, almost unappreciated.
Parnas appreciated just how jolting it is to hear of the nature of Nunes’ involvement:
“I was in shock when I was watching the hearings and when I saw Devin Nunes sitting up there, and then there was a picture where Harvey was in the back sitting. I texted my attorney ‘I can’t believe this is happening,’”
(Direct quote not in violation of fair use and copyright concerns).
Even now, as we sit here today, it is difficult to appreciate the depth of this scandal’s reach. It is shocking, the conflict of interest is simply horrific, to the point that you wonder if these people can possibly be as stupid as they appear? Or is Trump just so brazen, so corrupt, that they figured: “Well, if he can get away with it, surely we can, too.”
Nunes is still being coy, still calling it a hoax. Last night on Fox, Nunes finally admitted he had had conversations with Parnas, yet Nunes still dodged questions. Nunes needs to address one major concern: If Trump never did anything wrong, and if Nunes never did anything wrong, if all this is just normal policy addressing a normal problem, why do he and others continually get tripped-up lying about their roles?
I suspect everyone knows why, except the most MAGA’d of the MAGA-heads, and even most of them know, and simply stopped caring long ago.
Meanwhile, Nunes continues to be Nunes, and imitating his idol and master, Nunes had threatened to sue everyone in sight who says anything Nunes doesn’t like. The tactic losses strength with each revelation:
Amazing Lev Parnas interview on #Maddow. Also, I’m disclosing that the lawyer for @DevinNunes wrote a letter saying Rep Nunes will sue me if I didn’t apologize for saying last month that Nunes conspired with Parnas.
Devin, I’m adding to my statement: “Your pants are on fire.” https://t.co/2nptREunSk
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 16, 2020
The pants on fire thing is Nunes’ least worry right now. Nunes may as well have set himself on fire by conspiring with Trump to commit these crimes. At this point, it looks increasingly like everyone close to Trump is going to get scorched in this matter.
To the extent we always assumed that the entirety of the Republican leadership was involved in the Ukrainian matter, it just goes to show how hardened we’ve become. Just because we expect it doesn’t lessen the seriousness, nor negate the need to dump this entire government overboard and fumigate the entire place.
Trump brought the Trump act to Washington DC and set about to do what Trump did in business, run a criminal enterprise in which all key players had to stay loyal, because they quickly got so criminally involved, they had to save Trump in order to save themselves.
It worked well for far too long, but like criminals everywhere, the better it worked, the more they overreached, ensuring it all comes crashing down.
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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.