Devin Nunes faces scrutiny from Mueller for shady Trump Hotel meeting

5065

Protecting Trump may not be the only reason that Devin Nunes has tried so hard to undermine Mueller's investigation.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has made a name for himself over the past two years by going out of his way to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation in an effort to shield Trump from scrutiny.

But according to a new report, Nunes may have had more than one reason to want to obstruct Mueller's probe. Besides protecting Trump, Nunes may have been trying to protect himself.

The Daily Beast reported Monday night that Mueller's team and federal prosecutors in Manhattan are scrutinizing a meeting involving Nunes, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and a slew of foreign officials, including diplomats representing governments around the world.

About 60 people attended the meeting, which was held at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 18, 2017 — just days before Trump's inauguration.

The meeting was already being investigated by Manhattan federal prosecutors "as part of their probe into whether the Trump inaugural committee misspent funds and if donors tried to buy influence in the White House," The Daily Beast reported.

Now, Mueller is looking into the event to determine if foreign officials gave money to Trump’s inaugural fund and PAC, using Americans as intermediaries to funnel the cash. Taking foreign donations is not allowed under federal elections laws, so this would be an illegal scheme.

Nunes has not been accused of any specific wrongdoing, but the revelation that he has come under scrutiny by Mueller's team casts new light on his antics as the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and Trump's top defender in Congress.

After serving on Trump's transition team, Nunes emerged as one of Trump's closest allies and enablers. He used his role as the head of the Intelligence Committee to obstruct attempts to hold Trump and his associates accountable, while also propping up conspiracy theories about a so-called "Deep State" trying to undermine Trump's presidency using the Russia investigation.

Last year, Nunes led a deceptive campaign against the FBI that involved peddling a misleading memo accusing the bureau of misconduct in its investigation of Trump and his associates. The FBI came out with a rare statement slamming the debunked memo, saying it contained "material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy."

Nunes has also pushed conspiracy theories about the FBI spying on the Trump campaign, and regularly used his power as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to do Trump's dirty work.

At one point, Nunes was forced to recuse himself from the committee's Russia investigation after he attempted to provide cover for Trump’s lie about being "wiretapped" by the Obama administration. However, Nunes never really stepped back from his role — he simply continued working behind the scenes in an effort to undermine Mueller and the FBI.

All along, it appeared as though Nunes was acting in the interest of protecting Trump. While he likely was trying to shield Trump from scrutiny, the new report suggests that he may have had a more personal reason for wanting to obstruct the Russia investigation.

Unfortunately for Nunes, his antics failed — and now, he finds himself entangled in the investigation that he worked so hard to shut down.

Published with permission of The American Independent.