Tulare Republican Devin Nunes, who has taken heat from Democrats and from some in federal law enforcement over a memo that criticizes the FBI’s tactics, got a pat on the back Monday from President Donald Trump.
In a tweet, Trump praised the congressman, calling him “a man of tremendous courage and grit.”
As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes authored a memo alleging the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice hid relevant information from a judge in getting a secret warrant to monitor a Trump campaign volunteer. Nunes also has suggested they did so because upper-level federal law enforcement officials are motivated by anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton bias.
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Trump added that Nunes “…may someday be recognized as a Great American Hero for what he has exposed and what he has had to endure!”
Nunes’ critics, however, are hailing him as someone who’s bending facts to fit an agenda.
Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois told CNN, “It is the duty of Congress to focus on the Russia investigation” and not cherry-pick facts in a bid to exonerate the president. “The information, the facts, tell a totally different story” than the narrative put forth by Nunes with the support of Republicans on the Intelligence Committee, Durbin said.
Nunes has come under heavy criticism from some former intelligence community leaders, including ex-CIA director John Brennan, who on Sunday termed the memo “appalling.” Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Brennan said Nunes had “abused the chairmanship” of the House Intelligence Committee.
The committee’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff of Burbank, who is trying to win public release of a 10-page Democratic rebuttal to the memo, on Sunday said the Nunes-backed document was not a legitimate attempt to exercise congressional oversight of law enforcement.
“The interest wasn’t oversight,” Schiff said on “This Week.” “The interest was a political hit job on the FBI in service of the president.”
The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.