Facing a new ethics investigation, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) announced this morning he'll recuse himself from the investigation into the Russia scandal, turning the matter over to one of his colleagues, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas).At first blush, this isn't necessarily good news for Donald Trump or his White House team. Nunes is a cringe-worthy presidential sycophant, and having him leading the investigation into the Russia scandal all but guaranteed a favorable outcome for the Republican president. Nunes' recusal creates uncertainty and a possible risk for the administration.That is, in theory. Mike Conaway may not be as brazen as Nunes when it comes to acting as a White House employee on Capitol Hill, but the Texas Republican hasn't taken the Russia scandal especially seriously, either. Remember this story from the Dallas Morning News in January?
Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland, is comparing the use of Mexican entertainers to energize Democratic voters to the email hacking that officials say was orchestrated by Vladimir Putin’s government.“Harry Reid and the Democrats brought in Mexican soap opera stars, singers and entertainers who had immense influence in those communities into Las Vegas, to entertain, get out the vote and so forth,” Conaway told The Dallas Morning News this week. “Those are foreign actors, foreign people, influencing the vote in Nevada. You don’t hear the Democrats screaming and saying one word about that.”
When the local paper asked if he sees Mexican entertainers on the campaign trail and Russian agents engaged in cyber-espionage as are roughly the same thing, Conaway said, “Sure it is, it’s foreign influence.”I don't think he was kidding.More recently, Conaway pushed back against FBI Director James Comey's uncontroversial assertion that Russia's government wanted Donald Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton. USA Today reported a couple of weeks ago.
After Comey made the point that Russia President Vladimir Putin hated Hillary Clinton so much that he preferred her opponent win, Conaway attempted to compare the situation to a Texas football game."That might work on Saturday afternoon when my wife's Red Raiders are playing the Texas Longhorns," Conaway said. "She really likes the Red Raiders. But all the rest of the time ... the logic is that because he really didn't like candidate Clinton, it automatically -- he liked Trump? That assessment's based on what?"Comey played along with the Red Raiders-Longhorns scenario for a while, at one point saying, "Whoever the Red Raiders are playing, you want the Red Raiders to win."The football comparison got a bit convoluted before Conaway let it go.
While trying to explain logic to the congressman, the FBI directly specifically said, "Whoever the Red Raiders are playing, you want the Red Raiders to win, by definition, you want their opponent to lose."Nunes' recusal on the investigation into the Russia scandal is a victory for common sense, but those expecting a major improvement with his successor in this investigation should probably temper their expectations.