Photo: Andrew Harnik (AP)

The behavior of California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes has been suspect nearly from the start of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling and the Trump campaign’s possible involvement. Repeatedly, Nunes has shown that he fully intends to use his position as House Intelligence chairman to disrupt the probe at all costs, which includes lying to the American people and threatening top law enforcement officials.

He’s now gone as far as trying to expose a U.S. intelligence asset, which could place that asset’s life at risk. And with the help of House Speaker Paul Ryan, he’s trying to portray himself in public as a martyr, a victim of the so–called “Deep State.” Devin Nunes truly must be terrified of something.

Last week, we reported that Nunes had phoned in to Fox & Friends Sunday to threaten Attorney General Jeff Sessions with contempt charges over documents Nunes subpoenaed from the Justice Department. (Never mind that Sessions is recused from the Russia probe.) This week, we learned that the sole intent of that effort was to expose an asset involved in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Nunes denies this, but his most recent request for documents was blocked by everyone from the intelligence community to the White House. In a New York Times article published Saturday, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff laid it out clearly: “The goal is not the information,” Schiff said. “The goal is the fight. And the ultimate objective is to undermine the Justice Department, undermine Bob Mueller and give the president a pretext to fire people.”

The Times noted that top Justice Department officials are worried that some lawmakers, including Nunes, are “mining government secrets for information they can weaponize against those investigating the president.” Former FBI Director James Comey said on Friday, “You cannot overstate the danger in that kind of behavior to the security of the United States,” Bloomberg reported.

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The Times article appears to have struck a nerve with Nunes. So, apparently, did a tweet by Lawfare Executive Director Susan Hennessey, which stated that members of the Justice Department and the intelligence community don’t trust Nunes, and he should be replaced immediately as House Intelligence chairman.

Shortly after Hennessey’s tweet, Nunes responded with his own tweet citing the “freak show swimming in the swamp.” The tweet linked to a post by a site called “American Greatness” titled, “The Deep State Mob Targets Nunes.” That post called Hennessey’s tweet “calculated deception.”

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It added:

The Deep State Mob is continuing to squeeze the California congressman after he again threatened to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for ignoring congressional subpoenas and withholding crucial documents from Congressional investigators. Nunes has minced no words about how the Justice Department and FBI have been “stonewalling” his committee’s investigation for months. And as Nunes inches closer to revealing the stinking core of what is potentially the biggest political corruption scandal in U.S. history, the Deep State Mob is trying to close in on him first.

It’s hard to predict where all of this is heading, or when Nunes’ reckless charade will finally implode. But it’s impossible not to wonder if the California Republican’s final chapter might be written from a prison cell.

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