You can’t turn to a cable news network these days without seeing talking heads yakking on forever about Devin Nunes or someone interviewing him about President Donald Trump, leaks, unmasking and Russia.
1. Nunes and soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo have something in common. They have been honored as a Grand Officer of the Order of Prince Henry – a Portuguese form of knighthood. Grand Officer is third highest of six ranks, behind Grand Cross and Grand Collar.
Indicating how highly Nunes is thought of in Portugal, the congressman received the honor June 7, 2013, for “exceptional and outstanding merit for Portugal and its culture.”
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Ronaldo, who is among the top 10 international goalscorers of all-time, was named a Grand Officer on Jan. 20, 2014.
2. In 2010, Rep. Nunes wrote the book “Restoring the Republic.”
No, it wasn’t about restoring Russia – although Rep. Adam Schiff, Nunes’ Democratic colleague on the Intelligence committee, might want to read it just to make sure.
Said one reviewer: “A believer in freedom in all of its varieties and a skeptic of big government, (Nunes) reads like one of the true sons on the Reagan Revolution.”
3. Although I am not a linguist and don’t even play one on TV, Nunes’ name is pronounced “new nes” – not the two or three other ways it’s being mangled by cable anchors.
4. Although I don’t know where he stands today, Nunes has championed redistricting reform in the past. Here is what he wrote in a 2008 oped published by The Bee:
“Like lords from the Middle Ages, California politicians rule our state with virtual impunity. Having built moats around their high offices, each morning state legislative leaders and members of Congress wake up secure in the knowledge that political accountability will not touch them again today.
“As your representative, I have benefited from this political reality. My congressional district was drawn to ensure a Republican victory, not electoral choice. I don’t like the system, and despite benefiting from it, have consistently fought for reform. …
“I believe Californians deserve what the Founders intended – an opportunity every two years to ‘throw the rascals out’ if they are not being responsive to the voters’ wishes. …
“To that end, we all have choices to make. Many of us can be heard complaining about ‘politics as usual.’ But until we act, we will not have change. The frustration that exists across the political spectrum will not be relieved until we have true competition and choice in our elections.”
For the record, Nunes still occupies one of the safest Republican seats in America.
5. There was a time when Nunes and Schiff got along like brothers from another mother.
Here is what Schiff said about Nunes in April 2014: “I have always been impressed by him. He works in a very bipartisan way.”
6. In 2010, Time magazine named Nunes one of America’s top 40 civic leaders under 40 years old.
In an interview accompanying the Time article on the former dairyman, he was asked, “If you were not working in politics, what would you be doing?”
Nunes’ replied, “I would be making wine and cheese.”
Democratic activists have claimed via social media that the winery has a Russian distributor who is close to Vladimir Putin. But a winery spokesperson told the fact-checking website Snopes that after shipping 22 cases to Russia in 2013, it has not done business there.
8. Don’t spill the beans to isolationist Trump, but Nunes is a free-trader. In fact, there were times he worked closely with Obama administration trade officials.
Maybe someone should be investigating that.
9. In the summer of 2010, Nunes used taxpayer funds to send out a glossy 32-page magazine to his constituents. “The Washington Report” was much more than your usual congressional mass mailing. It had color photos and charts, right-leaning commentaries, and a story on Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek.
“The only thing that this mailing will produce are wasted paper and grumpy letter carriers,” John J. Pitney, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College, told The Bee.
“He would get a lot more readers if he had something about (actress) Salma Hayek instead of Friedrich Hayek.”
10. Though the controversy regarding his handling of the investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian meddling into the 2016 president election has Nunes on the defensive, he is best known for going on the offensive.
A few examples:
▪ He called Tea Party Republicans who backed the government shutdown in late 2013 “lemmings with suicide vests” before adding, “It’s kind of an insult to lemmings to call them lemmings.”
▪ He has described global warming as “nonsense” and “hysteria” spread by a “Doomsday cult.”
▪ Nunes had dedicated a good chunk of his political career fighting for agriculture and to bring more irrigation water to the San Joaquin Valley.
▪ He called for the resignation of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009, saying “He’s either under the total control of the radical environmentalists, or he’s totally incompetent.”
You think perhaps that Nunes ghostwrites at least a few of Trump’s tweets?