Devin Nunes may have proof of the Trump-Russia smoking gun

One of Trump's biggest backers may unwittingly lead to the president's downfall

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published September 12, 2017 8:38AM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

When House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes of California seemed to try to create a fake scandal about former national security adviser Susan Rice, he most likely did so to distract from the investigation into the Donald Trump campaign's alleged collusion with Russia.

It is unlikely that he anticipated that his actions could provide damning information about the Trump team.

Although Nunes' report didn't expose any improprieties by either former President Barack Obama or his aides, it revealed that some of Trump's aides may have violated the Logan Act, which prohibits unauthorized American citizens from negotiating with foreign governments that have a dispute with the United States, according to Reuters. As a result, Nunes' reports could also become part of the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into the allegations against the Trump campaign and Russia.

Nunes stirred up controversy when he secretly met with a White House intelligence official and used that meeting as a pretext for accusing Rice of improperly unmasking American citizens whose communications with Russians may have been discovered in intelligence gathering. Nunes stepped down from the investigation, and it was later revealed that as far back as April, he did not take the potential charges seriously.

As one source told Reuters regarding meetings between Russian officials and high ranking Trump campaign aides like former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner:

An obvious question is how all these meetings and conversations were set up. Who set them up? What was their purpose? What were the agendas? Who approved them? Who was briefed on them afterward? Signals intelligence might shed some light on that.

There is no evidence that either Rice or any other Obama administration official either misused intelligence about the Trump campaign or leaked it to the media.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Devin Nunes Donald Trump Russia Trump-russia Investigation