Tuesday morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show, political analyst John Heilemann jumped the shark and asked a sitting U.S. Senator if it was possible that Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., is a "Russian agent."
Admitting that his question would normally be "ridiculous and absurd," but "under these circumstances" is "warranted," Heilemann asked Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. if it was possible Nunes, who is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and one the co-authors of a memo documenting Obama administration surveillance abuses, has been compromised by Russia.
“Is it possible that the Republican chairman of the House Intel Committee has been compromised by the Russians?” Heilemann asked. “Is it possible that we actually have a Russian agent running the House Intel Committee on the Republican side?”
Murphy offered a weak "I hope that's not the case" in response to the ridiculous question, adding that he had "no information to suggest that it is."
But Heilemann wasn't done.
“Doesn’t his behavior speak of that though?" he continued. "I mean, I’m not the first person who’s raised this. He’s behaving like someone who’s been compromised and there are people in the intelligence community and others with great expertise in this area who look at him and say, ‘That guy’s been compromised.’”
What people? Who besides Heilemann is suggesting that Devin Nunes is a "Russian agent?"
Let's get this straight. The key issue is whether the Obama administration used the infamous "Russian dossier" compiled by ex-spy Christopher Steele and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC to acquire a FISA court warrant to spy on members of Donald Trump's campaign for president. From there, the question is whether individuals surveilled by the Obama administration were "unmasked" by Obama cabinet officials including Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Ben Rhodes and if this information was then leaked to the media to influence the outcome of the 2016 election and, failing that, undermine the early days of the Trump administration.
Related to this issue is whether political partisans at the FBI, like Peter Strzok, acted to downplay Hillary Clinton's potentially illegal mishandling of classified information to shield the Democratic nominee for president. Further, are there more political partisans like Strzok investigating the president on Robert Mueller's probe into Russian collusion during the election?
Devin Nunes puts together a four-page classified document that reportedly implicates former FBI Director James Comey, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in surveillance abuses committed by the Obama administration for political purposes. Republicans who have seen this memo characterize it as "shocking" and demand that it be released. Nunes holds a vote to release the memo.
There are hints of a potentially massive Obama administration spying scandal, hints of corruption at the top levels of the FBI and of chief Obama DOJ officials acting to benefit the Democratic party politically, and the question on MSNBC is whether or not Devin Nunes is a "Russian agent?"
Who, exactly, is peddling conspiracy theories?