Devin Nunes is the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and this morning he is fending off trouble because he has recently admitted to being on the White House grounds and receiving information on the matter of trump and Russia. The Trump-Russia story has been ongoing because of persistent charges and reports that raise the question of whether there was collusion between Trump and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. There will be a Senate version of this investigation in the future. But for the moment the focus is on Nunes.

Recuse!

Recuse is becoming a common phrase regarding the Russia story. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from anything to do with Trump and Russia. To recuse is to admit you may be too close to the matter at hand to be objective. Yesterday and today Democrats are urging Devin Nunes to take the same course.

Schiff speaks out

Last night Adam Schiff. the California Democrat who is the ranking member of the committee said, “The public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the president’s campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chairman.” The New York Times this morning suggests that the Senate and FBI investigations of the Russia story are on track but that the Nunes committee inquiry is becoming a sideshow.

Nunes defends himself

The Democrats pounced when Nunes said, following a visit to the White House, that information regarding Trump and Russia may have been "incidentally" included in material now in the hands of intelligence agencies.

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Nunes has made no secret of his positive attitude toward Trump. He served in the Trump transition team. He defended himself on FOX news, contending he was not "sneaking around".

It could have been a revealing hearing.

There have been careful suggestions of what would work to create a truly revealing analysis of the Trump campaign's possible links with Russia.

If things are allowed to devolve into a conflict about Nunes' objectivity, the investigation may be irreparably damaged. Questions the committee could pursue include the Russian origin of an anti-Semitic meme circulated by White House social media director Dan Scavino, Carter Page's activities in Moscow and whether Russians offered a provide a comparison between Clinton and Tillerson prior to Tillerson ever being named.

Meanwhile

Perhaps the most obvious clue to the circus nature of things is this nocturnal tweet from the President which urges the house committee to focus on on the Clintons, not him. It remains to be seen whether the house effort is already poisoned beyond reclamation.