WILL THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATE?
by Sharon Rondeau
For several weeks, House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes has said that Republicans intend to refer a number of individuals, perhaps several dozen, for criminal investigation for their roles in the launching of a counterintelligence probe into the 2016 Trump campaign apparently without evidence or probable cause.
Mueller’s 22-month investigation, completed on March 22, reportedly concluded that no one from the Trump campaign improperly communicated or collaborated with Russians during the campaign cycle or afterward to gain an electoral advantage.
In a number of interviews over the last year, Nunes has reported there was “no intelligence” contained in the electronic communication (EC) justifying the launch of the Trump-campaign probe by the FBI. In the 115th Congress, Nunes chaired the committee, which conducted its own investigation of the “collusion” claims and concluded last March that the narrative was false.
The FBI has provided “July 31, 2016” as the official date on which it opened the investigation, but Nunes and others have said they believe it actually began much earlier, perhaps in late 2015 or early 2016.
A number of former Trump campaign aides have claimed they were approached by Russians or otherwise unknown figures offering to help the campaign, in some cases offering “dirt” on then-Trump Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Mueller’s report is said by the attorney general, who has read Mueller’s final work product, to have found that campaign aides rejected any overtures from Russians to infiltrate the organization.
Nunes has frequently focused on what he said was “FISA abuse” on the part of U.S. government figures against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Between October 2016 and June 2017, four surveillance warrants were issued to the DOJ and FBI to monitor Page’s communications, which presumably extended to high-level campaign and later, administration aides, and President Trump himself, according to Page in an interview Sunday with Sharyl Attkisson.
As a result, Page has claimed damage to the country, personal defamation and threats against his person.
After Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Mueller report was made public on March 24, many pundits, Republican members of Congress and Hannity himself called for an investigation into “the investigators” who appear to have launched a needless and politically-motivated investigation into the presidential campaign of the political party out of power at the time.
Democrats, meanwhile, have in large part refused to accept the findings and pledged to continue investigations into Trump’s business dealings prior to his inauguration.
On Sunday night, investigative reporter John Solomon of The Hill told host Mark Levin that approximately two years ago, after he appeared on “Hannity”at the beginning of his two-year reporting about the Russia “collusion” narrative, he was approached at his home by two individuals he described as federal agents. Solomon said that the agents told him they had seen his interview and confirmed that the FBI had used its resources to pursue politically-motivated activity against a presidential campaign.
According to Solomon, the agents encouraged him to continue his investigation and lay bare the facts.
Referrals for criminal investigation are not necessarily acted upon by the Justice Department, or they might be pursued and found to be without merit. Nunes appears to believe, however, that a number of individuals interviewed by congressional committees during their investigations over the last two years were untruthful.