Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Monday denounced what he described as the illegal leak of classified information concerning conversations between associates of Donald Trump and Russian officials. He insisted that those who described those contacts to the press be tracked down and prosecuted. He demanded that FBI Director James B. Comey confirm that such revelations “violate . . . a section of the Espionage Act that criminalizes the disclosure of information concerning the communication and intelligence activities of the United States.”
Forty-eight hours later, Mr. Nunes himself held a news conference in which he cited a confidential source to describe what clearly appeared to be classified information about intercepted communications involving Trump associates. He did this outside the White House, where he had rushed to brief the president about the intercepts — even though the House Intelligence Committee he chairs is supposed to be investigating the Trump campaign’s possible connections with Russia.
Mr. Nunes’s behavior provoked head-scratching from Republican colleagues, in addition to denunciations from Democrats; Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called it “bizarre.” But there was nothing really irrational about the representative’s actions: He was simply doing everything in his power to protect President Trump, for whom he has become a fierce, if erratic, guard dog. In denouncing leaks Monday, Mr. Nunes was doing his best to deflect attention from what appears to be a substantial ongoing FBI investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
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