Dems rip Nunes' plan for private huddle with Barr to discuss criminal allegations

Source: Politico | April 13, 2019 | Kyle Cheney

House Democrats are crying foul over a plan by the Intelligence Committee’s top Republican, Rep. Devin Nunes, to meet privately with Attorney General William Barr to push the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against officials involved in the investigation of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

Nunes’ accusations of misconduct are aimed at a slew of former FBI and Justice Department officials, who he alleges committed crimes in their pursuit of allegations that President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign conspired with Russians to influence the election.

Nunes has in recent days foreshadowed plans to send eight “criminal referrals” — informal requests for the Justice Department to investigate — directly to Barr. He said on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Thursday night that he intends to meet with Barr “when appropriate” to discuss the referrals, and plans to bring fellow GOP intelligence committee member John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney, to the meeting. Nunes said he wouldn’t name the targeted officials publicly but would share his recommendations with Barr.

Barr told lawmakers earlier this week that he was anticipating Nunes’ information.

“I haven’t seen the referrals yet from Congressman Nunes,” Barr said during testimony to the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, “but obviously if there’s a predicate for an investigation it’ll be conducted.”

Nunes’ move is an escalation by Trump’s allies in Congress to pivot from Mueller’s still-unreleased findings to the conduct of the FBI and Justice Department investigators who initiated the Russia probe. Before seeing its contents, Nunes labeled Mueller’s report a “partisan document” and said “we can just burn it up,” even as most of Trump’s supporters were celebrating the news — as described publicly by Barr — that Mueller “did not establish” a conspiracy between the campaign and the Russian government.

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