Rep. Devin Nunes has transformed the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence into "a beachhead" to gather support for President Donald Trump against his enemies, according to an article published this week in The New York Times Magazine.
Written by contributor Jason Zengerle, "How Devin Nunes Turned The House Committee Inside Out" looks at the Tulare Republican's rise from Central Valley farming roots to leading one of the nation's most powerful congressional oversight bodies.
Zengerle writes how Nunes' close ties to Trump were forged after an August 2016 fundraiser the then-presidential candidate held in Tulare, "cementing a political alliance that would have become one of the most consequential of the Trump era."
According to the article, after the election Nunes and Trump had discussed the possibility of him becoming director of national intelligence, overseeing a reorganization of the intelligence community.
However, Trump's circle saw Nunes as more valuable in Congress leading the Intelligence Committee.
"Some 17 months later, that looks to have been a remarkably prescient decision — as Trump appears to have been able to influence Nunes to a remarkable degree. So much so that during Trump's time in the White House, Nunes has transformed the Intelligence Committee into a beachhead from which to rally his fellow Republicans in support of the president against his perceived enemies — not just the Democratic Party but also the FBI, the Department of Justice and the entire intelligence community."
Zengerle also wrote Nunes has begun "laying the groundwork" to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether there was collusion between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia before Mueller's report is completed.
The article mentions how Nunes earlier this year pushed for the release of a memo he wrote that describes alleged Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice bias against Trump during an investigation of his campaign.
Additionally, Republicans on the Intelligence Committee in March concluded there was no collusion or coordination between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia.
In the article, Nunes spokesman Jack Langer responded by saying the facts sent by The New York Times Magazine to check for the piece are "filled with laughable fictional stories and some entertaining conspiracy theories" that "are great examples of why so few people trust The New York Times anymore."