Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Monday continued to fan the flames of controversy surrounding his misleading and error–riddled intelligence memo, all but ensuring that the document will continue to serve as a source of partisan outrage and distraction. The House Intelligence Committee chairman’s newest comments also underscored that he is either ignorant of or fully willing to ignore basic facts concerning the Trump-Russia investigation.
When asked by the hosts of Fox & Friends on Monday morning about George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign aide who reportedly triggered the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia, Nunes suggested that Papadopoulos was not “such a major figure” and questioned why he wasn’t a target of surveillance instead of ex-Trump aide Carter Page. Nunes continued: “As far as we can tell, Papadopoulos had never even met with the president.”
Papadopoulos is shown meeting with the president during the 2016 campaign as part of Trump’s national security team, in a widely circulated photo posted by Trump himself on social media.
“Look, getting drunk in London and talking to diplomats saying that you don’t like Hillary Clinton is really—I think it’s kind of scary that our intelligence agencies would take that and use that against American citizens,” Nunes continued, referring to reports that a heavy night of drinking with the Australian ambassador, in which Papadopoulos allegedly revealed that Russia had damaging information on Hillary Clinton, prompted the investigation.
Despite attempts by the White House to downplay Papadopoulos’ role in the campaign after Papadopoulos cut a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump also had praised his former aide as an “excellent guy.”
Below is the full Fox & Friends segment with Nunes, who also once claimed while investigating Trump-Russia matters that he had no idea who Roger Stone and Paul Manafort were.