Rep. Devin Nunes’s infamous memo — the document numerous House Republicans claimed would demonstrate fundamental anti-Trump corruption at the FBI — was released early Friday afternoon. The entire thing is three and a half pages and only takes a few minutes to read closely and carefully.
After doing that, there is only one conclusion a fair reader could draw: There is absolutely nothing here.
There is no proof in the memo that the FBI is biased against Trump, no proof of abuse of surveillance powers by the FBI, and no proof that the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia is fundamentally flawed. The memo is a piece of partisan spin, and not a particularly compelling one at that.
Republicans who claimed it was anything else have been egregiously misrepresenting what the memo actually says.
Well — not a complete nothingburger, as it did lead to this excellent subtweet of Seb Gorka:
sorry no tweets for a little while
i read the memo and it was indeed 100x bigger than what started the American Revolution so I had to rush from Boston on horseback to rouse the people
— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) February 2, 2018
And while it’s certainly true that it’s too easy to get FISA warrants, this is a problem Republicans have just specifically refused to solve.
…for some occasions, only Pierce will do:
I grew up with the Watergate tapes. I grew up with the revelations of the Pike and the Church committees. (Revelations, I might add, that produced the FISA process and the congressional intelligence procedures that Nunes turned into dog food Friday.) I grew up with George Schultz’s diaries that showed that everyone in the upper reaches of the Reagan administration was involved in the crimes of Iran-Contra. I watched every second of the several inquiries into the Whitewater land deal, which is how I know what a crock that was, but at least there was some phony substance to those phony charges. This Memo, Devin, isn’t even a good try. You and your staff have to be the laziest alleged obstructors of justice that I’ve ever seen. All it appears to be is a lame-ass defense of a self-important goofball Russophile named Carter Page. That’s all you got?
This is a guy that got on the FBI radar in 2013, when the president* was still firing celebrities on his television show. The FBI found that Page had been actively cultivated by Russian intelligence as a possible asset. And now, your whole argument is that the FISA warrants were prompted by the Steele dossier and that Steele is a shtunk who was biased against the president*? For this, you needed a memo? For this, you needed a month’s worth of drama? For this, you needed to demolish the good faith between the intelligence community and the congressional committees designed to conduct oversight of that community? You couldn’t even get the date of David Corn’s breakthrough story in Mother Jones right. Hell, you could have saved us all the trouble and just done a couple of nights on Hannity to make that case. You’d have reached every single American that currently buys what you’re peddling.
This is threadbare. This is shabby. This reveals absolutely nothing. All it does is damage. It isn’t even really good ratfcking. I mean, what the fck, Devin? You should’ve outsourced this to the Russians, who really do know how to do this kind of thing well.