House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) said Democrats chose to have a hearing with former Trump attorney Michael Cohen on Thursday in secret so that they could run out and talk to media about it afterwards.
“Why was it behind closed doors? Because they wanted it to be secret, so that they could run out and talk to all the mainstream media, who are in search of that ever-elusive collusion-conspiracy-obstruction animal,” Nunes said Friday during a discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
The hearing was held Thursday in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility [SCIF], where classified information can be securely discussed. But Nunes said Cohen does not know any classified information, nor could they share with him any classified information, since he does not have a security clearance.
“It’s a way to keep everything secret, even though there’s nothing that Michael Cohen knows that would be classified, and there’s nothing that we can share with him that would be classified,” Nunes said.
Indeed, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) held a press conference after Cohen’s testimony that was broadcast live on CNN.
Schiff says on March 14 the House Intelligence Committee will hold a public hearing with Felix Sater, a former business associate of Donald Trump who worked to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow https://t.co/agQqNqP0Q7 pic.twitter.com/pfXSbvWi11
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 28, 2019
Nunes also mocked Cohen’s public testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday, where he told members that Trump directed him to do things by “secret code,” instead of openly directing him.
“[You need] a tin foil hat to believe this,” he said.
Nunes also predicted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would not find any collusion, and that Democrats would turn to investigating Trump’s businesses, using documents seized from Cohen.
“They’re not going to find collusion, they’re not going to find obstruction. You’re already seeing them leak out that Mueller’s not going to have anything,” he said.
“They’re using these documents that they’re getting, because now what they’re going to target is is they’re going to target all of Trump’s businesses. And that’s what this all is about,” he said.
“Get as many documents as you can, say that you have these secret documents that nobody’s seen before, and then there will be this new supposed crime.”
Nunes said the collusion narrative began as Hillary Clinton campaign “dirty ops” that was intended to be an October surprise in the 2016 presidential election. Sadly, he said, they fed that narrative into the FBI.
“You almost have to look at everything as a movie script — a fictional movie script,” he said.
The House Intelligence Committee, when it was led by Nunes, discovered that a dossier alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia had been paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.