Queen of Spades: Former U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes (CA): This Trump enabler received Presidential Medal of Freedom and became CEO of Truth Social

For weeks, California’s two most powerful Republicans in Congress would not say whether they’d back President Donald Trump’s last-ditch effort to throw out electoral votes from swing states he lost in November.

In the end, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes sided with Trump partisans in voting to toss out votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Their vote to dismiss swing state electoral votes came just hours after a mob overwhelmed Capitol Police, forcibly invading the Capitol and forcing senators and representatives to evacuate the House and Senate chambers and shelter in place. 

Fresnobee.com. Jan. 8, 2021

Trump DOJ tried to unmask a Twitter account behind ‘mean tweets and bad memes’ that teased Rep. Devin Nunes

Katie Shepherd May 18, 2021

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/18/devin-nunes-twitter-doj/

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

March 20, 20234

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

Parnas is a Ukrainian-born former associate of one-time Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. He was deeply involved in the attempt to smear Hunter Biden before the 2020 presidential election. This attempt included then-president Trump’s 2019 phone call to Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to force him to announce he was opening an investigation into the Ukrainian energy company on whose board Hunter Biden sat. Trump suggested he would not release the money Congress had appropriated to enable Ukraine to resist Russian incursions into Crimea until Zelensky agreed to such an announcement. 

That call eventually led to Trump’s first impeachment, in December 2019. 

During that impeachment and ever since, Parnas said, “I have never wavered from saying that there was no evidence of the Bidens’ corruption in Ukraine—because there truly was none. On the contrary, by setting up a search for false criminality, every individual majorly involved in this plan was disguising their own criminal activity. That persists to this very day: The impeachment proceedings that bring us here now are predicated on a bunch of false information that is being spread by the Kremlin.”

Parnas said, “My mission for Giuliani and Trump would come to encompass nearly a year of traveling across the globe to find damaging information on the Bidens. This included trips to Ukraine, Poland, Spain, Vienna, London, and other locations…. In my travels, I found precisely zero proof of the Bidens’ criminality.”

What he did find, Parnas said, was that “the Kremlin was forcing [disinformation] through Russian, Ukrainian, American, and other channels to interfere in our elections. Ultimately this was meant to benefit Trump’s re-election, which would in turn benefit Vladimir Putin.”

Every person pushing “the Biden corruption rumors” knew they were “baseless,” Parnas said. And then he named names: “Then-Congressman Devin Nunes [R-CA, who at the time chaired the House Intelligence Committee], Senator Ron Johnson [R-WI], then chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee], and many other individuals understood that they were pushing a false narrative. The same goes for John Solomon [of The Hill], Sean Hannity, and media personnel, particularly at FOX News, who used that narrative to manipulate the public ahead of the 2020 election. They are still doing this today, as we approach the 2024 election.” 

Nunes retirement move seen as sign of power shift in GOP

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/584826-nunes-retirement-move-seen-as-sign-of-power-shift-in-gop

[Excerpts:]

Rep. Devin Nunes’s (R-Calif.) announcement this week that he’ll step down from Congress to become the chief executive of former President Trump’s new media and technology company is a sign of where power truly lies in the GOP, even if the party wins the House majority next year.

Nunes would have been poised, if the GOP took back the House majority, to chair the House Ways and Means Committee, one of the most coveted jobs in Congress with influence over tax, health care and social safety net policy.

But in today’s GOP, staying close to Trump may be the more powerful post. [Boldface added]

The political trajectory of Nunes, who was first elected to the House in 2002, is a distillation of how the GOP has evolved under Trump.

While former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was in power, Nunes openly clashed with conservative hard-liners who went on to form the House Freedom Caucus and once referred to them as “lemmings with suicide vests.”

Boehner later appointed Nunes as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in 2014. By 2017, Nunes was using his perch on the panel to defend Trump during the investigation into the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 election.

Nunes held a press conference to announce that Trump or his associates may have been “incidentally” swept up in foreign surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies, and then met with Trump at the White House. The New York Times later reported that White House officials originally helped provide Nunes with the intelligence reports.

Nunes ultimately stepped back from the Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian election interference after the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into whether he made unauthorized disclosures of classified information. The panel ultimately cleared Nunes several months later.

Nunes also served as one of Trump’s top defenders during the first impeachment inquiry in 2019 over the former president’s efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation into now-President Biden.

A report from Democrats on the Intelligence Committee later documented contact between Nunes and two of the key figures at the heart of the impeachment inquiry: Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney who was trying to work a back channel to pressure Ukrainian officials, as well as Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate assisting with the effort.

Trump eventually awarded Nunes with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in January before leaving office. The Trump White House said Nunes “had the fortitude to take on the media, the FBI, the Intelligence Community, the Democrat Party, foreign spies, and the full power of the Deep State.”

 

“Letters from an American”
Heather Cox Richardson from
December 10, 2021

Kash Patel, a one-time aide to Representative Devin Nunes and a Trump loyalist, also testified for nearly five hours. On November 9, 2020, shortly after he lost the election, Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper by tweet and installed Christopher Miller as acting secretary of defense. Trump named Patel as Miller’s chief of staff, but observers told Washington Post reporter David Ignatius that Patel was really the lead civilian at the Pentagon. In December 2020, Trump considered putting Patel at the head of the Central Intelligence Agency.

 

Trump’s ultimate yes man: how Devin Nunes embraced the role he was long accused of playing

Congressman poised to helm Trump’s media company is poster child for the notion that, in today’s politics, extreme partisanship pays

Andrew Gumbel

December 11, 2021

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/dec/11/devin-nunes-trump-republican-yes-man-congress

[Excerpt:]

In many ways, Nunes is embracing the role his detractors have long accused him of playing, as Trump’s ultimate yes man. Early in the Trump presidency, leading Democrats fumed that he was walking away from his grave responsibilities as chair of the House intelligence committee to be Trump’s “stooge” and “fixer”. Now, though, he is walking away from Congress to serve Trump, without pretending that anything else is at stake.

Both sides also broadly agree that Nunes’s surprise career move is a sign of the times. A generation ago, no politician of either party would have given up on the prospect of chairing the House ways and means committee, a job that would have been Nunes’s for the taking if the Republicans were to win next year’s congressional midterms. The position is often described as the best in Washington, because of the sweeping power it grants over a wide range of policy issues.

Nunes, however, appears to have calculated that in today’s Republican party the real power lies not in committee but in proximity to the former president, who remains the GOP’s undisputed kingmaker and may harbor ambitions to be more than that as the 2024 presidential election draws closer.

Nunes went out his way, while intelligence committee chair, to clear Trump of accusations of collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign and promptly turned around to investigate the FBI’s reasons for looking into the matter in the first place. Trump rewarded him with a presidential Medal of Freedom, praising his “fortitude to take on the media, the FBI, the intelligence community, the Democrat party, foreign spies, and the full power of the Deep State”.

Like the man he is going to work for, Nunes has made a career out of divisiveness

Nunes, 48, is in many ways a poster child for the notion that, in today’s politics, extreme partisanship pays. While his unwavering allegiance to Trump and frequent spouting of freewheeling conspiracy theories caused his popularity in the agricultural district he represents in California’s Central Valley to nosedive – his margin of victory plummeted from 35 percentage points in 2016 to single digits in 2018 and 2020 – his Trump bona fides have made him a formidable fundraiser.

 

Five questions ahead of Trump’s social media launch

BY CHRIS MILLS RODRIGO AND REBECCA KLAR – 02/18/22

https://thehill.com/policy/technology/594989-five-questions-that-remain-ahead-of-trumps-social-media-launch

 [Excerpts:]

 

Who’s involved with the platform?

Nunes, a key Trump ally, will lead Trump’s media company. 

The former representative was poised to chair the powerful Ways and Means Committee if Republicans win the House in November, but Nunes said in December he would resign from Congress to be CEO of the new company.  

“The time has come to reopen the Internet and allow for the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship. The United States of America made the dream of the Internet a reality and it will be an American company that restores the dream,” Nunes said in a release announcing his position as CEO of the company.  

 

What level of content moderation should users expect? 

Truth Social has styled itself a beacon of free speech amid what its founders see as a sea of liberal social media platforms censoring conservative voices. 

But just like platforms attempting to play that role before it, Truth Social will likely be confronted with the reality sooner or later that it will have to moderate some content if it wants to be hosted on major app stores and retain advertisers. 

Parler, the Twitter alternative currently preferred by conservatives, was pulled off the Apple and Google app stores and dropped by Amazon’s web hosting services shortly after the Jan. 6 insurrection. The platform ultimately folded and offered a version for iPhones that bars hate speech. 

As of Friday, Truth Social’s community guidelines tab redirected to a dead truthsocial.com link.

Experts will be closely watching what rules the platform ends up adopting when that happens. 

“The main thing I’m curious about is whether whoever is running this platform is going to allow it to devolve into a site for conspiracy theorists and white supremacists,” Paul Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, told The Hill. 

 

Trump’s Truth Social’s disastrous launch raises doubts about its long-term viability

‘The basic thing they needed to actually get right, to get someone in the door, they couldn’t get right,’ one researcher said

By Drew Harwell

February 22, 2022|Updated February 23, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/02/22/trump-truth-social-disaster/

Former president Donald Trump, a longtime critic of how Democrats debuted Healthcare.gov, is facing a bungled website launch of his own.

His long-promised social network, Truth Social, has been almost entirely inaccessible in the first days of its grand debut because of technical glitches, a 13-hour outage and a 300,000-person waitlist.

Even Trump supporters made jokes about the early slog. Jenna Ellis, a former member of his legal team, posted to Instagram a photo showing Trump with his finger hovering over a laptop, “letting us on to Truth Social one at a time.”

Company representatives have not responded to requests for comment.

On Sunday, CEO Nunes predicted the site would be “fully operational” by the end of March. Last week, he told Sebastian Gorka, Trump’s former deputy national security adviser, “We’re having to build this from scratch to make sure we can’t be canceled and can’t be shut down.”

But far from being built from scratch, the site’s code shows it is based heavily on the open-source software Mastodon, which provides free, prebuilt social-networking sites that users can then edit and customize. Truth Social also depends on code from eight other outside development teams to handle text, images, security and other data, its own documentation shows.

The glitchy debut also suggests Trump will face big challenges as he scrambles to secure his place in the online spotlight and build an alternative social media platform that can compete with similar sites, including Gab, Gettr, MeWe and Parler — the latter of which Trump’s wife, Melania, said earlier this month she would make “Her Social Media Home.”  [Boldface added]

 

Exclusive: Two key tech execs quit Truth Social after troubled app launch
 and 
[Excerpt:]
The departures followed the troubled launch of the company’s iPhone app on Feb. 20. Weeks later, many users remain on a waiting list, unable to access the platform. Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) Chief Executive Devin Nunes, a former Republican congressman, said publicly that the company aimed to make the app fully operational within the United States by the end of March. [Boldface added]

 

From: Mike Allen <mike@axios.com>
Date: April 14, 2022 at 6:26:24 AM EDT
Fox News says it didn’t authorize account on Trump network

A verified account for Fox News appeared on former President Trump’s social media app, Truth Social, but a Fox News spokesperson says the network has nothing to do with the account, Axios’ Dan Primack and Sara Fischer report.

  • Why it matters: Investors would have viewed Fox News’ participation as a boon for the struggling app.

Shares of the blank-check company taking Truth Social public spiked on Tuesday afternoon, after an Axios reporter tweeted about the existence of the verified account.

  • That tweet, which has since been deleted, was prompted not only by the verification symbol on a Truth Social account bearing Fox News’ name and logo, but also by a message from Truth Social CEO Devin Nunes that read: “Great to have RSS feed for @FoxNews now LIVE here on TRUTH! This adds to @OAN and @NewsMax.”
  • But the Fox News spokesperson tells Axios: “We aren’t on Truth Social.”

Devin Nunes didn’t return a request for comment.

Truth Social faces financial peril as worry about Trump’s future grows
Even his hiring of former Republican congressman Devin Nunes, a staunch Trump ally, to be the company’s CEO faces scrutiny. Magistrate Judge William Matthewman in West Palm Beach, Fla., ruled earlier this month that Trump Media must provide information regarding Nunes’ employment to Hearst Magazine Media and journalist Ryan Lizza, whom Nunes has sued for defamation.

Nunes, who assumed his post in January, makes $750,000 a year and is scheduled for a raise, after two years, to $1 million, Digital World filings show.

Fontana is a member of Lega (the League), Italy’s very far-right party that formed a coalition with Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) last year to win the fall election. While it’s understandable that an American Republican might see conservative groups abroad as fundamentally similar to the GOP, Lega is simply not comparable to the Republican party.

If it were operating in the United States, Lega would represent just a sliver of the larger GOP, a faction to the right of the Freedom Caucus whose median member would be someone like Paul Gosar, and whose still-further-right wing might be represented by someone like Richard Spencer.Here are some highlights from Fontana’s career:

  • He has embraced Golden Dawn, a Greek political party and neo-nazi group.
  • He called Vladimir Putin “a light for us Westerners, who live in a great crisis of values.”
  • During the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea, he wore a “no to Russian sanctions” shirt. He was later invited to participate as an “election observer” in Crimea as part of Russia’s propaganda campaign justifying the invasion.
  • As the Minister for Families, Fontana fought to restrict adoption and surrogacy for gay couples. He has also said same-sex parents “don’t exist.”

Vetting problems seem to be increasingly common for conservative lawmakers; many members of the House Republican Conference have been burned for posing with Proud Boys who were later convicted of sedition, unabashed white supremacists, and more. Of course, it’s possible that these problems might arise from more than simple negligence.

Former Rep. Devin Nunes and some of Trump’s children are slated to share a stage with Hitler-praising internet personalities this coming weekend at Trump National Doral resort in Miami. It’s hard to take care to avoid associating with the hateful conspiratorial fringe if you just don’t care that much about it in the first place.But the highest-ranking elected Republican currently in office should know better and do better, especially considering that during the same trip abroad, he showed that he won’t always take the far-right bait.

Kevin McCarthy Met a Putin-Loving Supporter of Neo-Nazi Groups
Joe Perticone
May 9, 2023

Excerpts:

Fontana is a member of Lega (the League), Italy’s very far-right party that formed a coalition with Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) last year to win the fall election. While it’s understandable that an American Republican might see conservative groups abroad as fundamentally similar to the GOP, Lega is simply not comparable to the Republican party. If it were operating in the United States, Lega would represent just a sliver of the larger GOP, a faction to the right of the Freedom Caucus whose median member would be someone like Paul Gosar, and whose still-further-right wing might be represented by someone like Richard Spencer.Here are some highlights from Fontana’s career:

  • He has embraced Golden Dawn, a Greek political party and neo-nazi group.
  • He called Vladimir Putin “a light for us Westerners, who live in a great crisis of values.”
  • During the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea, he wore a “no to Russian sanctions” shirt. He was later invited to participate as an “election observer” in Crimea as part of Russia’s propaganda campaign justifying the invasion.
  • As the Minister for Families, Fontana fought to restrict adoption and surrogacy for gay couples. He has also said same-sex parents “don’t exist.”

Vetting problems seem to be increasingly common for conservative lawmakers; many members of the House Republican Conference have been burned for posing with Proud Boys who were later convicted of sedition, unabashed white supremacists, and more. Of course, it’s possible that these problems might arise from more than simple negligence.

Former Rep. Devin Nunes and some of Trump’s children are slated to share a stage with Hitler-praising internet personalities this coming weekend at Trump National Doral resort in Miami. It’s hard to take care to avoid associating with the hateful conspiratorial fringe if you just don’t care that much about it in the first place.But the highest-ranking elected Republican currently in office should know better and do better, especially considering that during the same trip abroad, he showed that he won’t always take the far-right bait. [Boldface added]

“Any condition for eligibility to vote that cannot be settled by presentation of a birth certificate would give powers to some public official who might have an interest in keeping certain people out of the polling booth. Even if a literacy test administered by some objective deity would be desirable, one administered by a bureaucracy would be intolerable.”

— Arthur M. Okun