President Trump made an extraordinary claim Friday morning when he tweeted that his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn should ask for immunity in the congressional investigation into Russia’s involvement in the U.S. election.
A president would normally try to steer Americans away from any investigations, CBS News’ John Dickerson says.
By calling the investigation a “witch hunt” and mentioning Democrats, Mr. Trump is attempting to “make the whole thing seem like political muddle -- a Democratic plot,” Dickerson says.
But there is one problem with that narrative: FBI Director James Comey is leading one of the investigations -- and many Democrats bitterly blame Comey for Mr. Trump’s victory. “He’s hardly a Democratic stooge,” Dickerson says.
Democrats, as well, have a problem with the investigations. Democrats say the House investigation is tainted because Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, appears to be cooperating with the White House.
Last week, Nunes told reporters that he had seen confidential intelligence in the investigation and he said he had gone to the White House with this information. Now it appears that White House staffers had a role in providing that information to Nunes, not the intelligence agencies.
There are two challenges for Nunes going forward, Dickerson says. First, there are questions that he is too close to the White House -- a claim that Nunes could have a hard time refuting given that he says he went directly to the White House after he got that information. If Nunes’ serious claims that members of the Trump team were incidentally surveilled turn out to be true, that could overshadow any coziness allegations.
But a bigger challenge going forward is that Nunes’ initial story about getting the information from a whistleblower seems misleading.
Nunes, for his part, has said those reports about where he got his information are wrong. So it appears we are in for more back and forth.