From The Nation
The only way to restore legitimacy to the Trump-Russia investigation is to demand that Nunes recuse.
House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes is openly at war with the system of checks and balances that the founders of the American experiment outlined in the US Constitution. That system establishes a separation of powers and charges the Congress with oversight of the executive branch. The US House of Representatives has the most well-defined oversight and accountability responsibility, as it is the chamber afforded the power to initiate impeachment proceedings against lawless presidents, vice presidents and cabinet members.
Unfortunately, Nunes has abandoned his oversight duties and made himself a political pawn of the Trump White House. There is no question that, after his secret visits to the White House grounds, closed-door meetings with the president and clumsy attempts to make excuses for Trump's unfounded claim that President Obama ordering politically motivated wiretapping of Trump Tower, Nunes must recuse himself from his role as the chair of the committee investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election on Trump's behalf.
But the California Republican refuses to abide by his oath to uphold the Constitution.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who because of his leadership role has an even higher duty to uphold the separation of powers than Nunes, should be calling for the committee chair to recuse himself. Indeed, if Ryan took his duties as speaker seriously, he would remove the compromised chair from the Intelligence Committee. But Ryan, the Republican political careerist from Wisconsin who bid for the vice presidency in 2012, has made it clear that party loyalty in general, and loyalty to Trump in particular, takes priority over his constitutional responsibilities.
Most House Republicans appear to be falling in line with Ryan.
In fact, only one Republican has, at this point, done what is not just right but required.
Congressman Walter Jones, the maverick Republican from North Carolina who is very conservative but also very committed to the rule of law, says Nunes "absolutely" must recuse himself from the Intelligence Committee investigation.
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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.
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