Republicans knew that Trump was being investigated as Russian agent in 2017—and no one complained
On Monday evening, Donald Trump published another tweet complaining about “Leakin’ James Comey,” the FBI director he fired. But according to Comey’s successor Andrew McCabe, there was a genuine leaker who concerned everyone at the Justice Department—someone he was sure related everything going on in the Russia investigation back to the White House as soon as it happened. But that person wasn’t in the DOJ or FBI: He was in Congress. Part of McCabe’s job as as acting FBI director was to brief the “Gang of Eight,” the group that included congressional leadership and the heads of the intelligence committees in the House and Senate. Among that group was then-House Intelligence chairman Devin Nunes. When Nunes learned something, McCabe regarded it as a “less than zero” chance the information would be handed to Trump.
But there’s something even more interesting in McCabe’s briefings to the Gang of Eight than Nunes hurrying off to get a fresh head pat from Trump. As McCabe told NBC News‘ Savannah Guthrie in a Tuesday interview, he briefed the congressional delegation not just on the status of the investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia, but on the investigation he had opened into looking at Trump as a Russian operative.
Congressional Republicans—including Mitch McConnell, Devin Nunes, Richard Burr, and Paul Ryan—knew that a counterintelligence operation had been opened to determine whether or not Donald Trump was an agent of the Russian government working against the interests of the United States. And none of them objected.
As shocked—shocked!—a Republicans are now pretending to be about the considerations that were going on inside the Justice Department, he truth is they knew as far back as early 2017 that the FBI suspected Trump of acting for a foreign power, and none of them tried to stop it. In fact, since Nunes was acting as an open conduit to the White House, it’s all but certain that Trump knew about the counterintelligence operation within days of it being launched.