The President of the United States today risks undermining the FBI and the DOJ, and further strained his relationship with senior members of those two organizations by releasing the Nunes memo, a cherry-picked document that aims to suggest that the FBI sought to surveil, and the DOJ approved of that surveillance, based on the Steele dossier. And he risked the ire of those organizations for … this?
The memo seems to suggest that the Steele Dossier was the only source used to obtain the warrant, and that the FBI unfairly did not provide exculpating evidence, namely that the Steele Dossier was paid for by the Clinton campaign and that Christopher Steele had stated in October 2016 that he was “desperate for Donald Trump not to be President.”
I wonder why he didn’t want Trump to be President? Could it have been because all of the intelligence he had collected that suggested Trump and his campaign had coordinated with the Russians? Was it because of Trump’s connections to organized crime? The involvement of Paul Manafort in his campaign? His erratic behavior? Or the fact that he was so obviously unqualified for the job?
Or maybe Christopher Steele was just “desperate” that Trump not be elected because he was a Republican?
In any event, the Nunes memo offers nothing that we didn’t already know, and while it suggests that the FBI wouldn’t have opened an investigation into Carter Page without the Steele Memo, it specifically does not say that it’s the only intelligence it had to form the basis of the warrant.
It is laughably weak. I hate the term “nothing burger,” but that is exactly what this is:
On #MemoDay we have a NOTHING BURGER! What does the misleading #NunesMemo NOT SAY?— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) February 2, 2018
-Doesn't say relevant parts of Dossier are false
-Doesn't say Russia investigation based on Dossier
-Doesn't say no probable cause for Carter Page
-Doesn't say @FBI / DOJ violated any specific law https://t.co/4D00HDH2IL
Wait. So this entire memo is just about renewing approval to continue surveillance on Carter Page, the most obviously compromised man in all this?— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) February 2, 2018
The curious thing about the Nunes memo is that it doesn't actually accuse the FBI or DOJ of violating any particular law. There are legal standards for warrant applications, material omissions, etc., but it doesn't reference them.— Brad Heath (@bradheath) February 2, 2018
It’s no surprise that the Nunes memo fails to acknowledge other evidence - in addition to the dossier - contained in the FISA applications for surveillance of Carter Page, the least of which would’ve been evidence of his collaboration with Russian intel even before the campaign.— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) February 2, 2018
Wow, it is even more lame than I expected. They made no reference to the actual content - the information that could be validated or cross-checked with other reporting.— John Sipher (@john_sipher) February 2, 2018
To call the memo a nothingburger is a mistake, it actually debunks a couple of insinuations about the Trump/Russia case that Republicans have been making for months.— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) February 2, 2018
There was a lot of speculation that Rosenstein was going to be a big target for Nunes memo, but he's only really mentioned in signing one renewal of Carter Page warrant and noting that Ohr worked "closely" with him— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 2, 2018
The notion that the FBI shouldn't pursue a credible counterintelligence investigation because the evidence came from a partisan source is insane. In fact, that would be a scandal.— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) February 2, 2018
BREAKING: Fired FBI Director James Comey slams secret GOP memo as `dishonest and misleading,' asks: `That's it?' .— The Associated Press (@AP) February 2, 2018
John McCain, meanwhile, still believes it shouldn’t have been released in the first place.
NEW: Sen. John McCain says Mueller’s "investigation must proceed unimpeded": “The latest attacks on the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests—no party’s, no president’s, only Putin’s." https://t.co/DXZjXnMY85 pic.twitter.com/F4LdZZDylh— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 2, 2018