Americans thrive on dichotomies. Right, wrong; fact, fiction; true, false; good, evil; Democrat, Republican. These are simple, easy. People are unsure when they are given more than two choices or if those choices slide on a spectrum. This is especially true for the most recent election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Partisan politics became increasingly aggressive and remain that way today. Republican or Democrat: There is no middle ground. This has found its way into our daily lives and the daily functions of almost every governmental committee and organization.
The United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, also known as the House Intelligence Committee, is no different. It is the primary committee for the House of Representatives that oversees the executive intelligence branches such as the DEA, FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, etc. The committee is chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Cal., and he has not been getting along with his Democratic committee-mates.
Earlier this month, it was announced that, “Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee plan to construct a wall – a physical partition – separating Republican and Democratic staff members in the committee’s secure spaces.”
However, many of his fellow committee members claim ignorance and place the blame solely on Nunes.
In a CBS News article from Olivia Victoria Gazis, Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla. states, “I swear to God I didn’t know that. The level of trust and the level of everything down there is – it’s poison. It’s absolute poison down there.”
He claimed that one reason for the building tension is the “erosion of trust.” This has been intensified by the committee’s ongoing investigation into the government’s involvement in Russian affairs. During the time of the impending wall construction, they have been interviewing individuals related to the investigation. However, it has not been going well – adding to the tension.
The Intelligence Committee has not interviewed anyone since Jan. 18 when former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski cut his interview short. This in turn raised questions about the committee’s ability to overcome this disagreement, to continue their investigation and conduct their regular oversight on the country’s 17 intelligence agencies.
It seems as if this issue may make or break the committee that has been in place for 41 years. Several members, both Republican and Democrat, have called for Nunes’ removal as chairman. This may be the best case for the committee since constructing a wall would physically divide the members who are working on the same investigation.
A seemingly simple solution has been made increasingly difficult due to our current political climate as they are watching the president implement a similar strategy to the southwestern United States.