Opinion | Is Devin Nunes Obstructing Justice?

Opinion | Is Devin Nunes Obstructing Justice?

As public scrutiny exposes deep flaws in the memo from the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, about alleged F.B.I. surveillance abuses, the committee’s Republicans are increasingly downplaying its significance. Mr. Nunes’s colleagues are right to seek some distance from this caper — not to mention other similar memos he has hinted at releasing. That’s because by writing and releasing the memo, the chairman may just have landed himself, and his staff members, in the middle of Robert Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation.

This risk emerged when Repesentative Mike Quigley, a Democrat on the committee, asked Mr. Nunes whether he or his staff coordinated the memo with the White House. Mr. Nunes said he had not — but refused to answer the same question about his staff. Facing a second round of questions on this issue during a committee meeting last week, Mr. Nunes again demurred, except to read a narrow statement that the White House was not involved in the actual drafting.

In additional comments to the press, the committee staff director noted the memo was a “‘team effort’ that involved investigators who had access to source material.”

Given Mr. Nunes’s own close relations to the White House as a former member of the executive committee of the Trump transition team, and his previous history conferring with White House officials on matters under investigation by his committee, it is fair to surmise that his staff, perhaps at his direction, may have coordinated the memo with the White House.

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