Speed Reads


Fox News anchor Shep Smith boldly wades into the Sally Yates-Devin Nunes-White House morass

If you watched Fox News' prime-time shows on Tuesday night, you saw Sean Hannity discussing Hillary Clinton and uranium — as requested by President Trump; Bill O'Reilly criticizing Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), whom he apologized to earlier in the day for making fun of her hair; and Tucker Carlson complaining about how Democrats are being mean to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). If you watched Shepard Smith Reporting on Tuesday afternoon, you heard about Nunes, too, but in a pretty different context.

Smith was discussing reports that the White House had tried to severely limit the Trump-Russia testimony of former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, whose scheduled hearing on Tuesday in front of the House Intelligence Committee was canceled by Nunes hours after Yates' lawyer informed the White House that Yates did not plan to restrict her testimony unless the White House publicly demanded it.

"The Washington Post newspaper broke the story, and Fox News now confirms the Justice Department sent a warning to the former acting attorney general, Sally Yates," Smith said. "Fox News obtained the letters showing the department told Yates earlier this month that she could not discuss a great deal of her possible testimony without permission from the White House." Smith duly noted the Trump administration's denial: "The White House calls The Washington Post's reporting 'entirely false.' It also says it has no problems with her testifying. That hearing was tentatively planned for today."

"It's all very complicated," Smith said, and that at least seems indisputable. Nunes went to the White House late March 21 to view some classified documents, then said the next day he's seen proof that Trump transition communications had incidentally and legally been swept up in surveillance of foreign subjects, briefed Trump, and still hasn't shared the material with his colleagues. He is now facing bipartisan calls for him to share his material with his colleagues or step down; on Tuesday he told ABC News that he "will never reveal sources and methods," not even with fellow Intelligence Committee members.

Nunes was a member of the Trump transition team. You can read a helpful timeline of his involvement in Trump's widely dismissed wiretapping claims at Axios.