By Frank Vernuccio
Originally posted in the New York Analysis of Policy & Government newsletter
This is the second article in the New York Analysis of Policy and Government’s two-part examination of the charges of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. The first article is here.
As the public began to question the logic of the Democrats’ claims against Trump, valid questions arose about how the whole story began, including the issue of surveillance of the Trump campaign.Judicial Watch notes that:
National Security Advisor Susan Rice ordered U.S. spy agencies to produce ‘detailed spreadsheets’ of legal phone calls involving Donald Trump and his aides. This is a move that makes Watergate pale in comparison.
Rice’s past ethical violations, including her misleading and false statements about the Benghazi incident, clearly establish her as someone not adverse to inappropriate action. Rice also inappropriately released information about the information from surveillance to a wide number of individuals. The history of the Obama Administration as a whole, which unlawfully used the IRS, the Department of Justice, and other federal agencies for partisan purposes gives the issue of inappropriate surveillance a great deal of credibility. Had Clinton won, the issue would most likely not have seen the light of day. But when Trump unexpectedly won, there was significant reason to worry that the inappropriate surveillance would be exposed; thus a cover story—that of Russian interference on behalf of Trump—needed to be developed.
As significant questions began to emerge about the logic of why Putin would assist Trump, those pushing the story found other villains. Trump’s pick for National Security Adviser was found to have had contacts with Russians—as one would expect a National Security Adviser to have. But Flynn didn’t report the contacts and was vulnerable. He resigned. Paul Manafort, who briefly served as Trump’s campaign manager, had some business interests with Russia approximately a decade ago. Much has been made of that, but a much more recent and more significant relation between Clinton’s key adviser John Podesta has been virtually ignored.
PJ Media notes that: Peter Schweizer, President of the Government Accountability Institute and the author of Clinton Cash, explained on Fox News Tuesday how a Russia connection to the Clinton campaign and Obama presidency is much bigger and more troubling than anything Democrats have accused Team Trump of…
The House of Representatives began an investigation into Russia’s actions. At one point, House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-Ca.) briefed the White House, which critics stated was a breach of ethics, some say before all his committee members were briefed. He was forced to step aside from the investigation. He delivered an angry response:
In 2011, John Podesta joins the board of this very small energy company called Joule Energy based out of Massachusetts (Schweitzer said). About two months after he joins the board, a Russian entity called Rusnano puts a billion rubles—which is about 35 million dollars—into John Podesta’s company. Now, what is Rusnano? Rusnano is not a private company, Steve. It is a fund directly funded by the Kremlin. In fact, the Russian science minister called Rusnano Putin’s child. So you have the Russian government investing in one of John Podesta’s businesses in 2011, while he is an advisor to Hillary Clinton at the State Department.”
Several leftwing activist groups have filed accusations against me with the Office of Congressional Ethics. The charges are entirely false and politically motivated, and are being leveled just as the American people are beginning to learn the truth about the improper unmasking of the identities of U.S. citizens and other abuses of power. Despite the baselessness of the charges, I believe it is in the best interests of the House Intelligence Committee and the Congress for me to have Representative Mike Conaway, with assistance from Representatives Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney, temporarily take charge of the Committee’s Russia investigation while the House Ethics Committee looks into this matter.
National Review, a publication that has been critical of President Trump, stated:
The beleaguered Intelligence Committee chairman is the latest target in a partisan smear campaign … He is the new target in an already long line of those targeted by the media for forced resignations—Stephen Bannon, the purported anti-Semite; Sebastian Gorka, the alleged closet Nazi; Jeff Sessions, the supposed Russian patsy; and now Devin Nunes, the purported partisan naïf … Some salient points, all of which have been reported in the media, need to be reemphasized with two caveats: First, the central question remains who leaked what classified information for what reasons; second, since when is it improper or even unwise for an apprehensive intelligence official to bring information of some importance to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee for external review—in a climate of endemic distrust of all intelligence agencies?