Is Andrew Janz getting inside Devin Nunes’ head?
I ask because Nunes’ reelection campaign is acting like it’s feeling the heat — even though Nunes has nearly $4 million to spend on his bid for a ninth term in Congress and a long history of landslide victories in a district drawn up as a safe Republican seat.
Over the weekend, Politico’s David Siders reported that the Nunes campaign had created an alternative digital news site to counter mainstream media portrayals of the congressman. You can read the story at this link.
We are real news, POLITICO.
— The California Republican (@CaRepublicanCom) February 11, 2018
Then an interesting thing happened Sunday morning. Anyone typing “carepublican.com” into their internet browser was redirected to a Facebook page and the following announcement:
The website/Facebook page is vintage Nunes, a continuation of one of his tried and true conspiracy theories: The “mainstream” media ignores all of the real stories (in Nunes’ view) and peddles nothing but “fake news.” Thus, I can imagine Nunes saying that his campaign had no choice but to create a website featuring stories that portray him, other Republicans and their talking points in a flattering light.
The difference between Janz and previous Democratic challengers to Nunes is that Janz is being taken seriously. He is attracting attention in Fresno, Clovis and Tulare County, and being interviewed by national news organizations.
In addition, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office prosecutor is prosecuting the case against reelecting Nunes. Perhaps the congressman thought that 2018 would be another cakewalk?
Politico asked Janz what he thought about the Nunes “news site.” His answer: “He’s got fake memos, fake websites and fake news. It’s disappointing to see a member of Congress, especially one who chairs an important committee, spread misinformation to his constituents, who he knows will just eat it up.”
Nunes, Just Like Trump, Demands Loyalty
Just like President Donald Trump, Nunes demands that everyone in his orbit subscribe to his worldview. For example, when Siders asked Anthony Ratekin, chief of staff for Nunes, to comment on the website for the original story, Ratekin answered, “Until Politico retracts its multitude of fake stories on Congressman Nunes, we will not go on the record.”
Such a response is a home run for Nunes’ supporters and Nunes’ fellow conspiracy theory buffs, but it’s unlikely to win over independent voters in District 22 — some of whom might be paying attention to a Nunes’ opponent for the first time in their lives.
Nunes Loves One Mainstream Media Site: Fox News
The record shows, however, that Nunes gladly goes on record as often as possible with Republican-friendly Fox News.
Nunes told host Maria Bartiromo Sunday morning that Republicans are not blocking a response to his memo that was written by the House Intelligence Committee’s Democratic members led by Rep. Adam Schiff of Los Angeles.
That memo was sent to the White House last week. President Trump initially said he would release the so-called “Schiff memo” but then backtracked and said that he wouldn’t declassify it unless the Democrats reworked its sensitive and classified passages.
“Well first off, this was not a surprise,” Nunes said. “So this was — after they had accused the Republicans of putting sources and methods into our memo, we actually did not, we just put in what we thought the American people needed to know.”
“It was clear from the development of the Democratic memo from the very beginning that they packed it full of sources and methods. Now for the viewers out there, what are sources and methods? We don’t want to give up the way that our intelligence committee recruits sources, the methods that they may use to recruit sources, so these are things that don’t need to be made public. However, the Democrats knew this, they packed their memo full of sources and methods.”
Nunes also told Bartiromo that he would like to see a properly redacted version of the Democrats’ memo released to the public.
You can read a transcript of the Fox interview at this link.
You can also watch the video below:
Janz Says Trump Is Covering Up for Nunes
Meanwhile, Janz said in a Saturday appearance on MSNBC that Nunes has “politicized” the House Intelligence Committee and that Nunes is ignoring constituent needs.
(Janz did the interview from the GV Wire office because his campaign was unable to arrange a link-up with KSEE, the local NBC affiliate. We are billing his campaign for the service. Our office is available to all other candidates needing to hook up for national television interviews, too.)
Answering questions from MSNBC host Alex Witt, Janz said that he is the first “viable” Democratic candidate to challenge the Tulare Republican, who first won election to Congress in 2002.
Janz additionally took aim at the relationship between Nunes and Trump.
Janz said that the Trump administration is “doing everything they can to cover up” for Nunes, who has been criticized by Democrats and some Republicans for publicly releasing a memo that alleges the FBI abused its surveillance powers. Nunes released the memo over the objections of the FBI and Department of Justice.
You can view portions of the Janz interview in the video space above this column.
Other Nunes Links
Newsweek’s Jeff Stein says that Nunes’ friendship with Gen. Michael Flynn fanned the House Intelligence Committee chairman’s penchant for conspiracy theories. Read Stein’s opinion piece at this link.
Gregory J. Wallance, a lawyer and former federal prosecutor, writes in an opinion piece for The Hill: “The Democrats don’t need classified information to impeach the Nunes memo. The Nunes memo is the best evidence that the DOJ didn’t mislead the FISA court, but rather, that the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have tried to mislead the American people.”
Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, writes in an opinion piece for The American Conservative that the Nunes memo matters — but not for the reason you think.