Led by disgraced Rep. Devin Nunes, a group of GOP lawmakers is leading a secret investigation aimed at discrediting special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.
A group of House Republican lawmakers, led by disgraced Rep. Devin Nunes, has been secretly investigating the Justice Department and the FBI for weeks in an attempt to discredit and ultimately undermine the findings of the ongoing Russia investigation, according to an explosive new report.
The group, composed of a subset of Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, has been quietly working and holding private meetings without the knowledge of their Democratic colleagues. The goal of the secret investigation is to "highlight what some committee Republicans see as corruption and conspiracy in the upper ranks of federal law enforcement," Politico reported Wednesday night.
The group's work is reportedly the product of a plan devised by Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He was forced to step down from his work on the Russia probe in April amid an ethics investigation into whether he disclosed classified information in an attempt to provide cover for Trump's lie about being wiretapped by President Barack Obama.
It's long been known that Nunes never really stepped aside from the investigation, but the new report shows that his ongoing involvement in the Russia probe is much more extensive — and far more concerning — than previously reported.
According to Politico, the secret group led by Nunes plans to release a report early next year detailing their claims of corruption and anti-Trump bias at the FBI and DOJ.
"That final product could ultimately be used by Republicans to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether any Trump aides colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign — or possibly even to justify his dismissal, as some rank-and-file Republicans and Trump allies have demanded," Politico reports.
Nunes and the other members of his secret group claim that the FBI and DOJ conspired to hurt Trump and/or help his former opponent, Hillary Clinton — a baseless accusation that has also been embraced by Trump and his allies in the White House and the media.
They are focusing their investigation on the funding for the so-called "Steele Dossier," which was compiled by a former British intelligence agent during the 2016 campaign. The dossier outlines an alleged conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the presidential election.
Nunes and colleagues claim that the dossier influenced the FBI's decision to initiate the investigation into Trump's ties to Russia, but there is no evidence to support that accusation.
Other lawmakers in the Nunes-led group refused to comment about the secret meetings, but did not deny the existence of the group.
"I don't talk about what we do behind closed doors," Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas told Politico. Conaway took over the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian election interference when Nunes recused himself earlier this year. His participation in the group raises serious questions about Nunes' ongoing involvement in the Russia probe after he publicly claimed to have recused himself.
Democrats on the House committee said they hadn't heard of the secret meetings, but were not surprised by the GOP's latest efforts to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
"I think what we are seeing in our committee ... is an effort to attack the Department of Justice, an effort to attack the FBI, to attack Bob Mueller, an effort to undermine the investigations and these institutions out of fear of what they’ll find and try to discredit them in advance," said ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff. "It’s a pernicious thing to do that will ultimately inflict long-term damage on these institutions."
With each passing day, we learn more about the lengths to which Republicans will go to protect Trump from the findings of the investigation. One can't help but wonder what he needs so much protection from.