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“THIS REALLY IS A HOAX”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 31, 2020) — In an appearance on Friday night’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” at approximately 8:07 p.m. EST, House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes (R-CA22) told host Tucker Carlson that although the U.S. Senate voted earlier not to hear from witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Trump, there is “bad news” on the horizon.
In explanation, Nunes said it appears Trump will be “acquitted” when the final Senate vote takes place next week, House Democrats are going to mete out “the same exact thing you’ve been seeing for the last 3½ years.”
After Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month investigation into alleged 2016 Trump-Russia “collusion” “collapsed completely,” Nunes said, he and his colleagues believed “we’re going to get on to business, and then out of nowhere, this Ukraine hoax appeared.”
In mid-September, a “whistleblower” complaint filed by a member of the intelligence community became public over which Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire to testify and faulted Maguire for not transmitting the complaint to Congress after it was filed with the Intelligence Community Inspector General’s office in August.
At the time, Schiff did not reveal that his office had been in contact with the “whistleblower” and to the present time insists he does not know the identity of the whistleblower. However, when witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified publicly to the committee in October, Schiff instructed Vindman not to respond to Nunes’s question regarding with whom Vindman had shared the details of Trump’s July 25, 2019 phone call with Volodymyr Zelenskiy, which the complaint alleged exhibited “abuse of power” and an attempt by Trump to improperly influence Zelenskiy for Trump’s own political benefit.
Maguire testified that he sought guidance from the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) as to whether or not the complaint met the standard for conveyance to Congress given that it involved the president, who might claim executive privilege. The OLC concluded that because the complaint did not allege wrongdoing against a member of the intelligence community, transmittal to Congress was unnecessary.
Conversely, Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson reportedly believed the complaint to be an “urgent concern.” In early October, Atkinson testified to the Intel Committee behind closed doors. Afterward, Schiff refused to release the transcript, the sole transcript of 18 witnesses who testified to be hidden from public view.
Nunes and House Intel Committee colleagues John Ratcliffe (R-TX4) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY21) have said that Schiff’s staff played a key role in formulating the whistleblower’s complaint.
“And look: this really is a hoax,” Nunes continued. “This was Adam Schiff and his staff concocting — this all together, with people that all know each other. All these people know each other that concocted this stupid Ukraine hoax that we’ve been dealing with for the last week in the Senate. So, anyway, bad news for your tonight. I bet even after the acquittal, we’re going to be working on this.”
Some House Democrats have suggested that additional articles of impeachment will be issued, and both House and Senate Democrats have claimed that an acquittal in the upper congressional chamber without hearing from additional witnesses will invalidate the trial.
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