Rep. Devin Nunes
Opening Statement for Hearing with Joseph B. Maher
October 2, 2020
Welcome to another hearing of the Trump Impeachment Committee, formerly known as the House Intelligence Committee.
I’ll begin by noting that there’s no reason for this hearing to be held in public except to try to stir up media interest in the Democrats’ latest publicity stunt—their attack on the leadership of the Department of Homeland Security. The only reason Mr. Maher was subpoenaed to be here today was as leverage. It was meant to force DHS to rush though a Top Secret/SCI security clearance for the attorney of the Democrats’ new whistleblower without doing an appropriate background check.
In fact, there was no reason for the Democrats to make this whistleblower complaint public at all—but of course, handling whistleblower complaints with discretion, as this committee had always done before this Congress, is not helpful to publicity stunts, so here we are.
Let’s recall that Democrats on this committee were at the forefront of the Russia collusion hoax. For years, they falsely claimed they’d found secret evidence of Trump’s conspiracy with Russia. They issued memos defending the FISA warrant to spy on Trump associate Carter Page, and they even tried to get naked pictures of Trump from Russian pranksters. They also touted the credibility of the Steele dossier and read Steele’s allegations into the Congressional Record at this Committee’s hearings.
After a two-year investigation, however, Special Counsel Mueller failed to find the secret collusion evidence the Democrats claimed to possess. And since then we’ve learned that the Steele dossier the Democrats championed was a mix of fake stories, rumors, barroom gossip, and jokes collected by a suspected Russian spy at the behest of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton Campaign. Furthermore, the Department of Justice Inspector General found the FISA warrant application that the Democrats defended was riddled with mistakes and omissions, withheld exculpatory evidence, and relied on a doctored email hiding Carter Page’s past cooperation with a U.S. intelligence agency.
The Democrats have not called a single hearing to investigate any of those issues, even though this committee is supposedly dedicated to overseeing the Intelligence Community and investigating abuses. They’ve held a hearing on global warming but don’t care about documented corruption of the FISA process or suspected Russian agents compiling political dirt for the Democratic Party.
After Mueller testified to this committee and again failed to expose the mythical collusion conspiracy, the Democrats suddenly switched tracks and impeached President Trump based on an anonymous whistleblower complaint from a bureaucrat who, we later learned, had coordinated his attack with Democratic staff, despite the Democrats insisting they had no such contact with him.
Although the Democrats brought our oversight work to a halt for months and completely transformed this committee into an impeachment committee—holding ridiculous secret depositions that were leaked nightly to their media stooges, followed by public show trials with the most useful witnesses—the impeachment in the House was such a transparent fraud that not a single Republican voted for it.
After the collapse of the Russia collusion hoax and the failure to oust Trump via impeachment, the Democrats suddenly ginned up a new investigation, issued their usual slew of press releases, and have now forced us into an open hearing. And it’s certainly amusing that, although this complaint is supposed to be handled by the Inspector General first, the Democrats have dispensed with the IG as an unnecessary middle man—probably because IG investigations take time, and the Democrats are operating on an election deadline.
Of course, this all has a familiar ring to it, almost as if the Democrats are following a playbook. Usually, you don’t follow the playbook from a game you’ve lost. But once again, they are pushing into the limelight a complaint by a whistleblower—who just happens to be represented by the same lawyer who represented the impeachment whistleblower. Small world.
It may seem that the whistleblower has some credibility problems. After all, he sent an email directly contradicting his allegations. Furthermore, the Democrats themselves called him a liar just a few weeks before he filed his complaint, but now he’s their star witness. Nevertheless, I have no doubt my Democratic colleagues will breeze right past these contradictions and that their media mouthpieces won’t draw any attention to these awkward problems, just like they’ll ignore the testimony of multiple career officials, delivered during the interviews they’ve scheduled, which contradicts their whistleblower’s claims.
So, here we go again, indulging the Democrats’ dream that they’ll find the holy grail of scandals that finally gets rid of Trump without beating him at the polls. Of course, foreign threats and intelligence challenges don’t grind to a halt while they pursue these fantasies. But in the Democrats’ view, all that can be put on hold while they try to gin up yet another partisan witch-hunt.