Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) gave a statement Wednesday at the beginning of the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
"There is collusion in plain sight. Collusion between Russia and the Democratic party," the ranking member said. "The Democrats colluded with Russian sources to develop the Steele dossier and Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya colluded with the dossier's key architect, Fusion GPS head Glenn Simpson."
"This hearing is a political theater. It is a Hail Mary attempt to convince the American people that collusion is real and that it's concealed in the report," Nunes said.
His full opening statement:
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): Thank you Mr. Chairman. Welcome everyone to the last gasp of the Russia collusion conspiracy theory. As Democrats continue to foist this spectacle on the American people, as well as you Mr. Mueller, the American people may recall the media first began spreading this conspiracy theory in the spring of 2016 when Fusion GPS, funded by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, started developing the Steele Dossier, a collection of outlandish accusations that Trump and his associates or Russian agents. Fusion GPS, Steele, and other Confederates fed these absurdities tonight more partisan reporters and to top officials in numerous government agencies including the FBI, the Department of Justice and the State Department.
Among other things the FBI used dossier allegations to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. Despite acknowledging dossier allegations as being salacious and unverified, former FBI director James Comey briefed those allegations to President Obama and President-elect Trump. Those briefings conveniently leaked to the press, resulting in a publication of the dossier and launching thousands of false press stories based on the word of a foreign ex-spy, one who admitted he was desperate that Trump lose the election and who was eventually fired as an FBI source for leaking to the press.
After Comey himself was fired by his own admission, he leaked derogatory information on President Trump to the press for the specific purpose, and successfully so, of engineering the appointment of a special counsel who sits before us here today. The FBI investigation was marred by further corruption and bizarre abuses top DOJ official Bruce Ohr whose own life worked on Fusion GPS is anti-Trump operation fed Steele's information to the FBI even after the FBI fired Steele.
The top FBI investigator and his lover, another top FBI official, constantly texted how much they hated Trump and wanted to stop him from being elected, and the entire investigation was open based not on five-eyes (PH) intelligence but on a tip from a foreign politician about a conversation involving Joseph Mifsud. He is a Maltese diplomat who is widely portrayed as a Russian agent but seems to have far more connections with Western governments including our own FBI and our own State Department than with Russia.
Brazenly ignoring all of these red flags as well as the transparent absurdity of the claims they are making, the Democrats have argued for nearly three years that evidence of collusion is hidden just around the corner. Like the Loch Ness monster, they insist it's there, even if no one could find it.
Consider this, in March 2017, Democrats on this committee said they had more than circumstantial evidence of collusion, but they couldn't reveal it yet. Mr. Mueller was soon appointed, and they said he would find the collision. Then, when no collision was found in Mr. Mueller's indictments, the Democrats said we'd find it in his final report. Then, when there was no collusion in the report, we were told Attorney General Barr was hiding it. Then, when it was clear Barr wasn't hiding anything, we were told it would be revealed through a hearing was with Mr. Mueller himself. And now that Mr. Mueller is here, they are claiming that the collusion has actually been in his report all along, hidden in plain sight.
And they are right. There is collusion in plain sight. Collusion between Russia and the Democratic Party. The Democrats colluded with Russian sources to develop the Steele dossier and Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya colluded with the dossier's key architect, Fusion GPS head Glenn Simpson.
The Democrats have already admitted both in interviews and through their usual anonymous statements to reporters that today's hearing is not about getting information at all. They said they want to "Bring the Mueller report to life and create a television moment through ploys like having Mr. Mueller recite passages from his own report." In other words, this hearing is political theater, it's a Hail Mary attempt to convince the American people that collusion Israel and that it it's concealed in the report. Granted, that's a strange argument to make about a report that is public. It's almost like the Democrats prepared arguments accusing Mr. Barr of hiding the report and didn't bother to update their claims once he publish the entire thing.
Among congressional Democrats, the Russia investigation was never about finding the truth, it's always been a simple media operation. By their own accounts, this operation continues in this room today. Once again, numerous pressing issues this committee needs to address are put on hold to indulge the political fantasies of people who believed it was their destiny to serve Hillary Clinton's administration. It's time for the curtain to close on the Russia hoax. The conspiracy theory is dead. At some point, I would argue, we're going to have to get back to work. Until then, I yield back the balance of my time.