For Donald Trump, loyalty is everything.
He likes it that Congressman Devin Nunes, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and a key member of Trump’s presidential transition team, has given him cover.
On Wednesday, as diligently reported by The New York Times, Nunes gave a press conference explaining the work of his Committee, which, on Monday, heard testimony from FBI Director James Comey completely refuting Trump’s specious claim that President Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower.
Then Congressman Nunes went to the White House to brief Trump on secret information which he had seen, presumably shown to him by the CIA or the NSA, indicating that someone or someones working for or associated with Trump had been observed and reported in communication with a foreign national, in this case, most likely, a Russian operative.
The House Intelligence Committee is supposed to provide oversight over the operations of the Executive Branch.
Chairman Nunes obviously thought that it was much more important to help out Trump than to inform his colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee. He was scolded for this by his committee colleagues, and he had to apologize.
Nunes’ stunt provoked the wrath of Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2008, as well as the strong criticism of the Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-California). McCain even went so far as to demand that an impartial body, not led by Nunes, oversee the investigation into the extent of Russia's interference in our 2016 presidential election.
After Chairman Nunes’ press conference outside the White House, Trump said “I very much appreciated the fact that they [presumably, the intelligence agencies, as disclosed by Nunes] found what they found.” Trump said he felt “somewhat vindicated” by what Nunes told him.
As associate solitary reporting Johanna Jones watched, Trump announced, early this morning, “I’m nominating Devin Nunes to be my Deputy Secretary of State. Tillerson needs somebody running State that I can trust. Yes, I know that Tillerson really wanted Elliott Abrams to be his Deputy, but Rex had forgotten that Abrams had denounced me in May of last year by comparing my superb presidential campaign to Tricky Dick Nixon’s 1972 election. With a solid guy like Devin Nunes at State, I’ll have my own man there because, to be honest with you, I don’t trust Rex that much as my top diplomat, but he can redeem himself maybe a little if he can get Putin to give me a lot of Russia’s oil to fill up our Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is really low right now because of all my extremely important trips to Mar-A-Lago, and since I am God’s gift to business, everybody knows that God wants me to continue making money for the next eight years while I am serving my country.”
The position of Deputy Secretary of State has been vacant, along with hundreds of other high-level executive branch positions, since January 20.
Nunes gratefully accepted Trump’s nomination. Nunes, who is descended from Portuguese-Azoreans, has been honored by the Portugese government as a member of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator. Nunes told Jones “I’ve always wanted to visit the Azores, which, as everybody knows, are a volcanic archipelago 850 miles west of continental Portugal. They are an autonomous region of Portugal, and as soon as I am confirmed by the Senate, my first trip as Deputy Secretary will be to my ancestral homeland. It’ll be a great way to spend the taxpayers’ money, and since the Democrats are claiming I did something illegal by helping out Mr. Trump, I wouldn’t mind it a bit if I could spend the rest of my life in the Azores, rather than in Washington’s swamp.”