Paul Ryan Is OK With Nunes Doc Demand That Might Risk Lives

Mother Jones; J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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Rep. Devin Nunes has lately taken to demanding that the Justice Department turn over records of the Mueller investigation. For obvious reasons, records of active investigations are normally confidential since the FBI doesn’t want to (a) hurt innocent people who may get caught in their net and (b) doesn’t want to alert the guilty to what they’re doing. Nunes, of course, would very much like to alert the guilty, which is why he wants this stuff.¹

All that is bad enough. But it gets worse:

Last Wednesday, senior FBI and national intelligence officials relayed an urgent message to the White House: Information being sought by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes could endanger a top-secret intelligence source….After the White House sided with the department’s decision to refuse the request, Nunes (R-Calif.) publicly vented his frustration, saying Sunday that he may try to hold Sessions in contempt for refusing to comply.

….For the intelligence agencies, Nunes’s request threatened to cross a red line of compromising sources and methods of U.S. intelligence-gathering, according to people familiar with their views. Intelligence officials fear that providing even a redacted version of the information Nunes seeks could expose that person and damage relationships with other countries that serve as U.S. intelligence partners.

….On Tuesday, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) said he had not discussed the matter with Nunes but added that he expected congressional subpoenas to be enforced. “We expect the administration to comply with our document requests,” Ryan said.

So there you go. You can decide for yourself whether you believe the intelligence community, but they claim that turning over these docs could get people killed. Nunes, however, is so obsessed with covering for Donald Trump that he doesn’t care. He’s the ringleader of the conservative claim that the Mueller probe is a liberal fraud designed to bring down a Republican president, and if that means pretending that the FBI, CIA, NSA, and every other federal agency is corrupt, so be it. If it means leaking information that could get people killed, that’s probably OK too.

And Paul Ryan is perfectly fine with this. Welcome to the Republican Party in 2018.

¹He says he wants it in order to conduct oversight on possible misconduct by Mueller, but I think we can safely laugh that off.

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"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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