Well Devin Nunes is not a happy camper on Saturday afternoon.
The House Intelligence Committee has released a heavily-redacted version of the Democratic rebuttal to Nunes’ infamous “memo” which was released earlier this month to much fanfare only to fall largely flat.
Objectively speaking, there really wasn’t much to Devin’s “bombshell”. We (and pretty much everyone in America) read that thing fully expecting to be regaled with tales of egregious FBI abuse and instead what we got was a flimsy and absurdly-transparent attempt to explain why Carter Page shouldn’t have been under surveillance.
The really unfortunate thing about it (and I am still not sure why Nunes didn’t realize this) was that it clearly suggested the investigation was already ongoing prior to the Page FISA applications. On top of that, it failed to mention any other evidence that was used to obtain the warrants which again, was a pretty blatant attempt to try and make is seem as though the dossier was the only thing that was involved, an absurd proposition for obvious reasons.
Well to the extent anyone took that any semblance of serious, it was further discredited by attempts to block the release of the Democratic rebuttal. The White House stymied the release citing national security concerns which made Trump look even more guilty than he already made himself look by taking to Twitter to shriek about how Nunes had “vindicated” him.
Fast forward to Saturday and the White House is claiming that the President decided to support the release of the Democratic rebuttal “in the interest of transparency.”
Hilariously, the administration goes on to call Adam Schiff’s memo a “politically driven document” that “fails to answer serious concerns raised by the Majority’s memorandum about the use of partisan opposition research from one candidate, loaded with uncorroborated allegations, as a basis to ask a court to approve surveillance of a former associate of another candidate, at the height of a presidential campaign.”
Of course if you read the Democratic memo (embedded below), it actually does answer that question. Specifically, it says this (bold, underlined type in the original):
Christopher Steele’s reporting which he began to share with an FBI agent through the end of October, 2016 played no role in launching the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference and links to the Trump campaign. In fact, Steele’s reporting did not reach the counterintelligence team investigating Russia at FBI headquarters until mid-September 2016, more than seven weeks after the FBI opened its investigation.
So you know, there’s that. And then there’s also this:
Far from omitting material facts about Steele, as the Majority claims, DOJ repeatedly informed the Court about Steele’s background, credibility and potential bias.
And then this:
The initial warrant application and subsequent renewals received independent scrutiny and approval by four different federal judges, two of whom were appointed by George W. Bush, one by George H.W. Bush, and one by Ronald Reagan.
You get the idea. Nunes’ memo was a farce and despite the fact that the Democratic rebuttal is heavily redacted, it still shoots down everything in the GOP document.
But really, I don’t even know why anyone bothers. This country is so divided along Trump versus anti-Trump lines, that none of Trump’s supporters are going to take the time to actually read this document. Indeed that’s part of being a Trump supporter and unfortunately, it’s now a requirement for being a Congressional Republican – you have to hold your nose, close your eyes, plug your ears and pretend as though reality isn’t reality. Meanwhile, Fox and the blogs will do what they do: try and figure out how to spin this as best they can.
Cue Devin Nunes himself who on Saturday said this:
So what you basically will read in the Democratic memo is that they are advocating that it’s okay for the FBI and DOJ to use political dirt paid for by one campaign and use it against the other campaign.
Actually no, what “you’ll read” in the Democratic memo doesn’t say that at all. He is literally just making shit up. As in, that statement has absolutely no basis in reality. And he’s saying it as though people can’t simply read the document he’s referring to. It got better. Here’s Devin again:
Because we think it is clear evidence that the Democrats are not only trying to cover this up, but they’re also colluding with parts of the government to help cover this up.
So now it’s a conspiracy on top of a conspiracy. Never mind the fact that the whole reason we’re having this conversation is because there was apparently an actual, real conspiracy going on to defraud America. While Devin Nunes is busy trying to distract you from that, Robert Mueller is busy indicting people for it based on mountains of evidence that is also publicly available.
Here’s Schiff’s statement:
The Democratic response memo released today should put to rest any concerns that the American people might have as to the conduct of the FBI, the Justice Department and the FISC. Our extensive review of the initial FISA application and three subsequent renewals failed to uncover any evidence of illegal, unethical, or unprofessional behavior by law enforcement and instead revealed that both the FBI and DOJ made extensive showings to justify all four requests.
Judge for yourself…