The long-anticipated public unveiling of the highly partisan and corruptly biased “Nunes Memo” is finally out. And it proves nothing but the bad faith and desperation of congressional Republicans and Donald Trump who authorized its release. There is little of substance to arrive at any conclusions that the government abused its power or acted improperly. In fact, it reflects more negatively on its authors than anyone else.
The entire Nunes Memo was published and is available for anyone to review. Trump has already had his say in a brief media encounter, where he whined that “A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves, and much worse than that.” He’s actually right, although not in the way he thinks. The embarrassment will fall on Trump himself, and his comrades in the Republican Party. This is a transparently political act intended to undermine the special counsel’s investigation of Trump and his treasonous, Russia-loving associates. Shockingly, it’s Trump who is attempting to accuse his own hand-picked FBI and Department of Justice leadership with “unthinkable” politicization. On Friday morning prior to the memo’s release he tweeted:
The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank & File are great people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2018
The Nunes Memo is a logical mess in addition to being patently dishonest. It outlines five points that its authors regard as salient to their argument that America’s top law enforcement institutions are engaged in a “deep state” conspiracy against Trump. It’s hopelessly partisan and bereft of independent affirmation. What follows is a summary, with annotations, of the five points:
1) The “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application.
Nunes is aghast that information was allegedly withheld from the FISA Court, but he’s the one leaving out facts. For instance, the fact that the Steele dossier was originally funded by a conservative media outlet, The Free Beacon. Also, Nunes refuses to allow a Democratic response to his memo to be made public.
2) The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow.
Nunes asserts that the FISA application “cited extensively” on an article by Yahoo’s Isikoff. What Nunes is not disclosing is what else the application cited. In fact, the FISA application is still classified. However, in Isikoff’s article he refers to “multiple sources.” So Steele’s dossier was not the sole evidence presented to the FISA court:
“U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials — including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the issue.”
Another thing unaddressed by Nunes et al, is that the FISA court never relies on a single source of evidence. He is insulting this court by implying that they would be fooled by a partisan document and wouldn’t seek further testimony before issuing a warrant. And for the record, the FISA judges are appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court – a Republican.
3) Before and after Steele was terminated as a source, he maintained contact with DOJ via then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, a senior DOJ official who worked closely with Deputy Attorneys General Yates and later Rosenstein. [and that] Steele “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”
So what? Does Nunes think that someone conducting opposition research would be a supporter of the target of the research? Steele’s opinions about Trump in no way impact any factual data that he uncovers. That’s also true with regard to FBI employees and other law enforcement personnel.
4) According to the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, Assistant Director Bill Priestap, corroboration of the Steele dossier was in its “infancy” at the time of the initial Page FISA application. […] Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.
The “infancy” or maturity of the dossier’s verification is utterly irrelevant to the FISA court. They are not finding guilt or innocence, but merely justification for proceeding with an investigation. And it’s interesting that Nunes asserts something that McCabe told Congress in closed hearings, but doesn’t provide a direct quote. It’s just his interpretation without any necessary context. McCabe’s testimony could have been quite different and Nunes is purposefully misrepresenting it, which he has been known to do.
5) The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation.
This may be the most significant item in the Nunes memo. It’s affirming that the FISA court’s warrant wasn’t even the instigation for the investigation into Trump’s connections to Russia during and after his campaign. Therefore, everything that Nunes is complaining about in all of what precedes this part of the memo is irrelevant. Even if the entire phony controversy over Page’s surveillance was excised from the investigation it would have negligible impact on the outcome.
This whole charade is just another effort by Trump and Republicans to deflect from, and discredit, Robert Mueller and others looking into Trump’s criminal activities. But it’s such a weak attempt it hardly requires a reply. It is brazenly biased and fails to make a single point that it alleges. And it’s further proof that these cretins are more interested in protecting Putin and Russia and those who are colluding with them, than with respect for the law and the welfare of the nation. And the perpetrators of this fraud will surely regret it when the truth comes out. #MuellerTime
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.