Cuomo Cozies Up to Liberal Rep.; Tag-Teams on Nunes Attacks

CNN's New Day anchor Chris Cuomo conducted a softball interview Tuesday of Democratic Representative Jim Himes (Conn.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, who slammed Chairman Devin Nunes and other Republicans over their approach to investigating possible ties between Presdient Donald Trump's campaign and Russia.

"Can't take anything seriously that comes out of that committee because you have Nunes who you know, at worst, lied, at best, confusing about where he got that information from and it seemed to be a naked attempt for a front run to the white House," Cuomo prefaced. "Why should anybody believe anything that comes out of that committee?"

"This isn't the first time, you know, his objectivity has been called into question. You recall a couple weeks ago he and Chairman on the Senate side knocking down a New York Times news story," Himes responded. "So I understand that shadow exists."

"Look, we are going to stay in this investigation because we don't have an outside commission. Other the FBI and commission, we're the only game in town. We might walk out if we can't do what we need for a good report," Himes added. This prompted Cuomo to reply, "The fear is that you have people using it as a propaganda arm of the White House."

Cuomo also asked the congressman about the Intel Committee investigating apparent connections between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and Russia. Himes replied the committee will look into the matter.

However, Himes added: 

"But let me step back, in the interest of truth, let me say something the other side has not been willing to say about the Susan Rice thing. There's not necessarily anything improper about Erik Prince meeting in the Seychelles, there’s nothing necessarily improper about Jeff Sessions talking to the Attorney General. This is what the investigation is for. This is to determine if something was improper."

Himes added, "But as one of your previous correspondents said, the best way to get to the answer about whether there's anything improper is for the White House don't ask, don't tell the exact opposite of what they have been doing for the last couple months, which is: 'Guys, let's move on. In order to show you there's nothing here I'm not going to criticizes as a witch hunt, I'm going to do everything I can to help it because the investigation will clear me and my people.' Of course, the White House has acted in exactly the opposite fashion of a White House which knows there was no wrongdoing and which wants to move on."

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Cuomo expressed appreciation, concluding: "Congressman, you know I'm on you about the integrity of the investigation not because of you necessarily but because of answers themselves being so important and what happened with Russian interference, who knew, how we avoid it going forward. You always have a forum here to discuss what you think the public needs to know about the investigation. Thank you."

Here is the April 4th exchange:

New Day

04/4/2017

7:22:28 AM – 7:28:44 AM [6 min., 16 sec.]

CHRIS CUOMO: The suggestion former National Security Adviser Susan Rice improperly unmasked identity of Trump associates, part of what the President calls a ‘crooked scheme.’ An associate of Rice says it's just plain false. Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Jim Himes. He serves on the House Intel Committee, something that has also been accused of being a crooked scheme because of what happened to Nunes. Met last night. Can you get back to work in earnest? 

JIM HIMES: I think so, Chris. After a week of canceled meetings and back and forth over this whole issue, we did meet yesterday. I'm happy to say it looks like we're under way. We've been promised access and, of course, the lead Democrat Adam Schiff, lead has gotten access to the material that sent Devin Nunes off on his, I guess, escapade would be the right word. And so I do think we’re getting back to business, which is really important here, for both the investigation and for the oversight role we have to play.

CUOMO: Okay, answer this criticism then. Can't take anything seriously that comes out of that committee because you have Nunes who you know, at worst, lied, at best, confusing about where he got that information from and it seemed to be a naked attempt for a front run to the white House. Why should anybody believe anything that comes out of that committee? 

HIMES: For starters, we will be there. The minority opposition is in the room. We will not be there if we are denied access to witnesses, if we're denied access to particular lines of inquiry. Look, I understand that there's always going to be a little bit of a question around the Chairman's motivations. This isn't the first time, you know, his objectivity has been called into question. You recall a couple weeks ago he and Chairman on the Senate side knocking down a New York Times news story. So I understand that shadow exists. Look, we are going to stay in this investigation because we don't have an outside commission. Other the FBI and commission, we're the only game in town. We might walk out if we can't do what we need for a good report. 

CUOMO: The fear is that you have people using it as a propaganda arm of the White House. The next piece of evidence, brick if the wall of what Phil Mudd, a CIA guy calls ‘purposeful deception’ with this ‘unmasking’ scandal, suggesting unmasking is leaking when it isn't. Suggesting Susan Rice undertaking this scheme of surveillance of Trump folk, which is demonstrably untrue. If that's coming out and it’s going to be backed up by Nunes, how is that oversight.

HIMES: I guess I've observed a Republican could do all that, certainly a Republican who is interested in joining to cloud the waters on existence of FBI investigation to Trump administration links and possible collusion with the Russians but backing up this absurd tweet about surveillance of Trump Tower. You can do that investigation or no investigation. What's more concerning to me, Chris, that you know, when you have a president who relies on false hoods and lies, the biggest inauguration ever, 3 million fraudulent votes, my health care bill will cover more people, be terrific, beautiful, and wonderful, when your castle is constructed on utter falsehood, one of the things you have to do over time is take all of the power out of the truth. You need to suggest that maybe Susan Rice's activities which everybody is saying if they occurred were perfectly proper for a national security adviser, you have to sort of say, oh, that's the other side of the story. All of this is just Republicans fighting Democrats one more time. Forget about the fact the FBI is investigating this administration. Forget about the fact the president openly promotes falsehoods because this is just another darn Democratic versus Republican fight. That's a huge win for a White House that wants to both distract the attention of the American people but also for whom doing away with an absolute sense of truth with any power to it is really important. 

CUOMO: So did this meeting in the Seychelles between Erik Prince who has numerous connections financial, familial, and otherwise to the Trump administration—with a Putin adviser. Did that get any attention in your last meeting?

HIMES: Well, you know, it only broke yesterday, so it’s only on the list of possibly odd-looking meetings between people associated with this administration and the Russians. And so, yes, of course we'll look into that. But let me step back, in the interest of truth, let me say something the other side has not been willing to say about the Susan Rice thing. There's not necessarily anything improper about Erik Prince meeting in the Seychelles, there’s nothing necessarily improper about Jeff Sessions talking to the Attorney General. This is what the investigation is for. This is to determine if something was improper. But as one of your previous correspondents said, the best way to get to the answer about whether there's anything improper is for the White House don't ask, don't tell the exact opposite of what they have been doing for the last couple months, which is, “Guys, let's move on. In order to show you there's nothing here I'm not going to criticizes as a witch hunt, I'm going to do everything I can to help it because the investigation will clear me and my people.” Of course, the White House has acted in exactly the opposite fashion of a White House which knows there was no wrongdoing and which wants to move on. 

CUOMO: Congressman, you know I'm on you about the integrity of the investigation not because of you necessarily but because of answers themselves being so important and what happened with Russian interference, who knew, how we avoid it going forward. You always have a forum here to discuss what you think the public needs to know about the investigation. Thank you. 

HIMES: Yeah, absolutely. This is why we always wanted an outside commission so you couldn't level these charges of partisanship, but we didn't get that. So again we're kind of one of the few games in town. 

CUOMO: Jim Himes, thanks for being on. 

HIMES: Thanks, Chris.

NB Daily Congress Russia Media Bias Debate Covert Liberal Activists Double Standards Trump-Russia probe New Day Journalistic Issues Jim Himes Chris Cuomo Devin Nunes Erik Prince
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