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Andrew McCarthy: Nunes Had 'Lapse in Judgment' With 'Strange' White House Meeting

Newsmax TV's "America Talks Live"

By    |   Tuesday, 28 Mar 2017 03:53 PM

The secret meeting House intelligence chairman Devin Nunes held on White House grounds as part of his committee's probe of Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential race was a "peculiar" event that needs further explanation, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy told Newsmax TV.

McCarthy sees no reason for Nunes to bow to Democrats' demands to resign from the committee because the meeting with an unnamed source raises questions about his independence from Trump, but McCarthy added the rendezvous showed "a lapse in judgment" by Nunes.

"The recusal call by the Democrats is frivolous," McCarthy told host Steve Malzberg on Tuesday's "America Talks Live." "These are partisan committees and if actually being . . . a detached nonpartisan member of Congress on a committee was the standard, I don't know that there's a single Democrat that could sit on a single committee in Congress.

"One the other hand, the story is very peculiar, and I don't think it's peculiar because there was anything wrong with what Nunes did in this sense. I imagine he saying, and this would not be unusual, that he's not getting great cooperation from the FBI in advancing Congress' investigation.

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"He has his own sources in the intelligence community, and he's trying to get information that he says is being withheld from him," McCarthy said. "I don't blame him in the slightest for doing that."

But there are two angles to the meeting McCarthy said he finds "very strange."

"No. 1, the classified information belongs to the executive branch so the idea that a subordinate officer of the executive branch . . . needs to call a member of Congress to the White House grounds . . . in order to review classified information and that the member . . . then needs to brief the president, when the president could just demand a briefing from relevant executive agencies is very weird to me," he said.

"The other thing that's strange is Nunes has to know . . . if he can't show that his committee can do a credible investigation, there are obviously going to be very strong calls [for his recusal or resignation] . . . So the way he's conducted himself even if he has a case which I suspect some of the things he's claiming were are troubling may very well be true.

"He's going to be viewed by some particularly in the media as basically the cat's paw of the Trump administration rather than the chairman of the committee . . . I think there's a lapse in judgment on his part to handle it the way he did, even though I don't think he did anything illegal or terribly wrong in terms of trying to pursue information."

So far, Nunes has blown off calls to step aside from the Russia investigation, telling reporters on his way to a Capitol Hill meeting on Tuesday, "Why would I?"

Nunes, a California Republican, acknowledged Monday that he reviewed intelligence reports at the White House complex and met a secret source behind his statement that communications involving associates of Trump were caught up in "incidental" surveillance.

That prompted Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and ranking committee member, to ask him to step down raising doubts about the independence of the probe.

Last week, Nunes announced U.S. spy agencies might have inadvertently captured Trump and his associates in the routine targeting of foreigners' communications. Trump hailed the news as proof of his assertion  President Barack Obama "wire tapped" his phones at Trump Tower.

But Nunes, Schiff and FBI Director James Comey have said there is no such evidence.

McCarthy, who served as assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and is now a contributing editor for National Review, is author of "Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama's Impeachment," published by Encounter Books.

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The secret meeting House intelligence chairman Devin Nunes held on White House grounds as part of his committee's probe of Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential race was a "peculiar" event that needs further explanation, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy told Newsmax.
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Tuesday, 28 Mar 2017 03:53 PM
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