Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller concluded his investigation by exonerating President Trump of collusion with Russian forces during the 2016 election. Investigating that supposed collusion is the reason he was appointed and his final report declared that he and his team could find no evidence to support the allegation.
But for more than two years, the nation has been torn apart by the claims made Democrats and their operatives in the media. They were sure – sure! – that President Trump would be forced from office in disgrace. The conspiracy theorists seethed with fundamentalist conviction, confident that Robert Mueller would lead them to the promised land. Nonetheless, many are sticking to their story. There may be no evidence, but they just know it in their bones!
What the rest of us know is that we were duped, lied to, and fed garbage. And we should never forget the people who did it. They should not be trusted as journalists, pundits, or pols. But there will be plenty of time for naming the villains. God knows it is a long list. Right now I’d rather do something we don’t do enough. I’d like to take a moment to honor one of the heroes. And as is usual, that list is much shorter. And at the top of it is Devin Nunes, the congressman representing the rural central valley of California – a farming community – where he grew up a dairyman.
Rep. Nunes was the Chairman of the House Permanent Special Committee on Intelligence until January of this year. In that capacity he was the pointman in the House looking into claims that Donald Trump colluded with Russian agents to somehow rig the 2016 election. Nunes knew all along that the claims were bogus and he stood up for the truth in the face of withering attacks from Democrats, from the media, which daily took vicious shots at his character and integrity, and from skeptics and unsupportive leaders in his own party. Recall that then-Speaker Paul Ryan forced Nunes to temporarily remove himself from the investigation at the insistence of Democrats like Rep Adam Schiff. Schiff, you should know, is so attached to the Russia hoax that he is still claiming that he knows the collusion was real. Sure, Adam, so was the UFO that stopped you outside of Bakersfield.
Were it not for Rep. Nunes we would not know that Susan Rice, Obama’s National Security Adviser, spied on members of the Trump campaign before the election and then unmasked their names with the likely knowledge that they would be leaked – which they were. We would not have details about the plot in the FBI and DOJ to use the phony dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign, created by Democratic party-aligned opposition research firm FusionGPS, and circulated by an associate of Republican senator John McCain. We would not know about Page and Strzok. We would not know about the meeting that occurred in the FBI in which they conspired against President Trump and rested sure that at least they had the dossier as an ‘insurance policy.’ And we would not know about the flagrant abuse of the FISA courts. The FBI and DOJ lied to the FISA court three separate times in order to illegally obtain warrants to spy on Trump associates. Who signed those fraudulent documents? Andrew McCabe, James Comey, former assistant attorney general Sally Yates and current assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein is currently disgraced and McCabe is under criminal investigation.
And what did Nunes get for this? In the last election, he got nearly $10 million of negative ads dumped on him. In his rural district, $10 million of negative ads meant that television, radio, print, and mail were saturated. The Democrats could not buy more airtime to smear his good name. He was also the subject of innumerable hit pieces on television and in print. Even his local paper, owned by McClatchy Newspapers, ran story after story attacking him. He was also on the receiving end of a mostly false, poorly sourced hit-piece in Bill Kristol’s now-defunct magazine The Weekly Standard. Not to mention the attacks made on him from star writers at National Review such as David French, who joined the liberal mob writing a column calling for Nunes to step from his chairmanship and claiming that it was he – not the Russia hoaxers – who had ‘undermined public faith.’ That was countered by some brave writing, but the overwhelming tide of media reporting and opinionating was strongly against him.
Nunes was in many ways the one man standing against the tide. In If, Rudyard Kipling famously wrote, ‘If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too…’ He says that if you can do all of these things and more, that you will be worthy to call yourself a man. That’s gone out of style these days. Devin Nunes is just the sort of man Kipling was describing.
So, when you hear stories about people who stood up for the truth in the face of a braying mob, know that it’s not just something that happens in fiction or in long-ago history. Remember that Devin Nunes stood in the breech and that he deserves the praise of a grateful nation. We would not long last without men like him who are willing to risk, as the signers of the Declaration of Independence said, ‘their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.’ Thank God this country still produces such men.
Thank God for our farmers, for their ability to see the plain truth that eludes sophisticates. And thank God for Devin Nunes: patriot, hero, defender of the republic.