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Nunes constituents come to his defense amid national scrutiny




House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) walks to the House floor on Capitol Hill on Friday. Nunes has been challenged by his colleagues about over how he acquired and handled classified information that he didn't share with the rest of the committee.
House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) walks to the House floor on Capitol Hill on Friday. Nunes has been challenged by his colleagues about over how he acquired and handled classified information that he didn't share with the rest of the committee.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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California Congressman Devin Nunes used to be pretty much unknown outside his rural California district. Now, as chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes is leading an investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.

It was recently revealed that he met with an unnamed source on the White House lawn to receive intelligence reports. Now, The New York Times and Washington Post are both reporting that White House staffers were the source of those documents.

This has Democrats accusing Nunes of being a presidential lapdog rather than a congressional watchdog. Even some Republicans have expressed alarm.

But one group of people came to Nunes' defense: His constituents in his district around the town of Tulare.

It's a bright red area in a mostly blue state.

"It's 43 percent Republican and 33 percent Democrat," Lewis Griswold, a reporter for the Fresno Bee, told Take Two's Ben Bergman. "There's never been a serious challenger against [Nunes] or at least a well-funded one."

Griswold has been talking to folks in Nunes' district to find out what they think of their congressman.

"Amongst his friends and neighbors, there's a strong sense of support for Devin," Griswold said. "I think they perceive him as being under attack."

Nunes has come under scrutiny by many of his colleagues and national media observers for how he's handled the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. But his local constituents feel a kinship with him.

"He's a hometown guy," Griswold said. "They know him."

Griswold said that camaraderie makes Tulare residents feel a little more defensive when they hear national voices go after Nunes.

"If you're in farming and you hear what's being said, your hackles go up," Griswold said.



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