Republicans are battling Republicans in an effort to protect Trump.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is continuing his relentless pursuit to run interference for the Trump White House. In a bizarre twist, the far-right chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is leading the charge to hold Trump’s far-right Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, in contempt of Congress.
And Nunes insists “100 percent” of Republicans would support him.
Nunes’ trumped-up charge is that Session’s Department of Justice is stonewalling Nunes’ committee, which is committed to running interference for Trump on the Russia investigation.
Nunes has demanded documents that are at the center of the ongoing, active criminal probe. Sessions rejected the request, citing longstanding DOJ precedent to not share documents that are being used in real time to catch criminals.
“Disclosure of responsive information to such requests can risk severe consequences, including potential loss of human lives, damage to relationships with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations, and interference with intelligence activities,” Sessions’ DOJ notified Nunes last week.
Nunes, leading the Sean Hannity wing of the Republican Party, wants Sessions to pay a high price. That might keep Nunes on Trump’s good side, since Trump has also been leading a public relations campaign against his own attorney general.
But the attack campaign, where the GOP Congress wages war on the GOP attorney general, will likely harm the party in the long run. “Other Republicans worry that such a move could muddy the party’s campaign message for the congressional elections later this year,” Bloomberg reports.
Like everything else connected to the Trump administration, the unfolding civil war is stunning to behold — to have a Republican member of the House threatening to hold a Republican Cabinet member in contempt.
There’s no precedent for this madness.
Worse, Nunes’ contempt threat arrives for all the wrong reasons. Nunes isn’t furious that Sessions is somehow corrupting the DOJ and the Californian wants to protect the institution. He’s furious because Sessions won’t aggressively use the DOJ to protect Trump’s criminality.
There are just 14 remaining Republican House members of Congress from California, out of the state’s 53-person delegation. After Election Day, as a blue wave grows in 2018, that Republican number is expected to shrink even further.
Waging war with Trump’s attorney general seems like a good way for Nunes to worsen his chances in November.