There’s a cartoon making the rounds on social media that shows Lt. Col. Vindman–in his military uniform– testifying during the impeachment hearing before the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman Devin Nunes, in full clown regalia, is asking him “What’s with the uniform?”
I loved it.
As Impeachment proceedings move to the Judiciary Committee, I thought I’d do a quick review of some of the more vocal–okay, looney-tunes–Trump defenders on the Intelligence Committee.
Nunes is a hysterical ( in both senses of the word) Trump devotee; during the Mueller investigation, reporters caught him running information to and from the White House in an effort to exculpate the President by disparaging American spy agencies, and engaging in a variety of other behaviors that were not, to put it mildly, in furtherance of the rule of law.
Indeed, despite once sponsoring something called the “Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act,” Nunes may be the poster child for legal frivolity.
He has sued:
¤ A stone fruit farmer in Dinuba, and two other people, for conspiring to damage his 2018 reelection by asking that Nunes not be allowed to call himself a “farmer” on the ballot.
¤ The research firm Fusion GPS and a Democratic group called Campaign for Accountability for attempting to interfere with his “investigation” (quote marks are mine) into ties between President Trump and Russia when he was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
¤ Twitter and a couple of parody accounts, including @DevinCow, who has called Nunes “a treasonous cowpoke.” He is asking for $250 million to assuage his hurt feelings.
¤ McClatchy, parent company of Nunes’ hometown paper, the Fresno Bee, for writing that he had a financial interest in a winery sued by an employee who was asked to work on a charity cruise where men behaved very, very badly.
¤ And, most recently, Esquire magazine and the journalist Ryan Lizza, who Nunes claims have defamed him to the tune of $75 million in writing about the Nunes family dairy farm, which is not in California, but in Iowa, a fact Lizza alleged Nunes has sought to downplay. Lizza also wrote about how undocumented workers form the backbone of the Iowa dairy farm industry, and how the industry would collapse without them.
(The New York Times says the cow now has 600,000 followers, far more than Nunes…)
Each of Nunes lawsuits describe him in the following glowing (arguably wildly inaccurate) terms:
“Nunes’ career as a U.S. Congressman is distinguished by his honor, dedication and service to his constituents and his country, his honesty, integrity, ethics, reputation for truthfulness and veracity.”
Then there’s language from his suit against the more popular cow. I think it’s fair to characterize it as somewhat over-the-top:
“In 2018, during his last re-election,” says his lawsuit against Twitter and the cow, “Nunes endured an orchestrated defamation campaign of stunning breadth and scope, one that no human being should ever have to bear or suffer in their whole life.”
As the author of the column put it,
It’s almost as if Nunes thinks he is the victim of a vast bovine conspiracy, when what he is really doing is weaponizing the American legal system in an effort to shut down criticism, punish his antagonists and prove to Trump World that, like the president, he will stop at nothing to destroy those who would dare to oppose him. Or call him names like “Milk Dud.”
In all fairness, Nunes isn’t the only Republican clown on the Intelligence Committee. Jim Jordan is only slightly less ridiculous; his high-decibel expressions of righteous indignation over suggestions that the Emperor/Commander-in-Chief might not be wearing any clothes was in striking contrast to his utter lack of such indignation–or appropriate action– over the sexual exploitation of numerous wrestlers by the team doctor while Jordan was assistant coach at Ohio State.
Gotta give Jordan props: when he’s on your team–be it wrestling or governing– he’ll cover for you. After all, what are friends for?
There are others, of course, who haven’t exactly been models of legislative comportment–let alone integrity. Feel free to identify your personal favorites in the comments.
Despite the number of contestants, it’s my view that Devin Nunes has gone above and beyond (far, far beyond) and is richly deserving of the title of Head Clown. Despite what has definitely been a valiant effort, Jim Jordan falls short.
That said, as the proceedings move to Judiciary, Nunes may have to increase his quotient of batshit crazy in order to keep the Clown crown. Louie Gohmert is on the Judiciary Committee…