Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) appeared on Fox & Friends on Monday to talk about the FBI’s investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Specifically, he made some questionable claims downplaying the importance of President Trump’s former foreign policy adviser, George Papadopolous, who has proved surprisingly essential to a swirl of controversy in Washington.
Papadopolous triggered the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign and Russia, thanks to a drunken conversation with an Australian diplomat in which he touted Russia’s hacking efforts against Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. He has also been indicted for lying to the FBI — but Nunes claimed that none of that really matters, because Papadopolous played such a minor role in the Trump campaign. In fact, “as far as we can tell, Papadopoulos … never even had met with the president,” Nunes told host Brian Kilmeade.
That claim is untrue. Papadopoulos not only provoked the FBI probe, but he also edited foreign policy speeches for Trump and arranged meetings on the then-candidate’s behalf with foreign leaders. Oh, and he is clearly visible in this campaign photo with Trump, Vox’s Matthew Yglesias points out:
Nunes recently authored a memo that claimed the FBI improperly surveilled a separate former aide to Trump’s campaign, which Trump has latched on to as proof that intelligence agencies are biased against him. Hours after Nunes’ appearance on Fox & Friends, Trump tweeted his praise, calling Nunes “a great American hero.”