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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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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