CNN is reporting that Rep. Devin Nunes' was "on the White House grounds" the day before he made his startling announcement about surveillance that picked up some Trump associate on a phone line with, supposedly, some foreign national who was being tapped legally with a FISA warrant.
"White House grounds" includes other buildings, like the Executive Office Building; so it does not necessarily mean he was in the White House itself. Nunes said he does not believe that the president or any of his West Wing team were aware of his presence.
Nunes' explanation is that he needed a secure area to view the information. He didn't say why he went to the White House grounds, rather than using a secure room he has access to on Capital Hill. He repeated his earlier statement that the information he obtained had nothing to do with Russia.
Add this to the cloak-and-dagger flavor of this story. CNN says that:
"Two congressional sources said Nunes was with a staff member Tuesday night when he got a message, got out of the car and got into an Uber. Staff did not hear from him again that night."
Nunes is extremely inept in his bungling of the messaging of this, even if the underlying content is all above board. Why does he say anything to the press at all in the first place? Why didn't he just keep the whole thing secret? That's what investigators do. That question begs for an answer.
The only plausible explanation, with the information available thus far, is that President Trump wants it out -- with emphasis on "and Russia was not involved." Otherwise, you can bet we would have heard denunciations of Nunes from Trump on Twitter and FoxNews. I would go further and suggest that the Trump team itself, with his approval, is behind this all the way, meaning that they "found" this themselves and released it to Nunes.
In short, the whole thing is an inside job -- for the purpose of (1) throwing the whole investigation off the track of other recordings that do show incriminating evidence of someone on Team Trump actually colluding with Russia; or (2) just creating a muddled distraction and helping to make any committee findings so confused as to be useless.
Whatever it is, I have no doubt that this is not just Nunes' inept stupidity. It is a White House cover-up of something. As John Dean said last week (see ShrinkRap, March 22, #8), they're behaving exactly the way guilty people do when they're covering up something. John Dean knows. He was there as Nixon's legal counsel, until he got wise and quit.
Originally published March 27 in afternoon; updated March 28, 12:01am