Under Siege

With the release of former Trump transition team member Rep. Devin Nunes’ memo, President Trump and House Republicans intensified their attacks against our nation’s institutions as if they were attempting to breach the fortress of Hornburg in the battle of Helm’s Deep.

Nunes, the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, previously won the heart of the Trump White House last March when he revealed intel allegedly showing the Trump campaign had been (unjustly) under surveillance (which it didn’t). It would later be revealed Nunes received his “evidence” from the Trump White House itself. Since the election, Nunes has proven to be Trump’s most loyal subordinate… the Wormtongue of Congress.

Nunes tongue.png 

Hyped by House Republicans and conservative pundits, the partisan memo was believed to discredit the FBI investigation into possible collusion between Trump and Russia and reveal a bias within the FBI and DOJ against Trump himself.

Iowa Rep. Steve King stated the memo’s contents are “worse than Watergate.” Infowars guest Rep. Matt Gaetz claimed “…this will not end just with firings. I believe there are people who will go to jail.”

Listen, guys. I waited in line ALL day for a midnight showing of Attack of the Clones in 2002. I understand disappointment resulting from high expectations.

Filled with inaccuracies and omissions, the memo delivers none of the damning evidence against the FBI and DOJ implied by its GOP street team.

The core of Wormtongue’s argument/memo is that the FBI wrongly received a FISA warrant for Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page, based on evidence (the Steele dossier) acquired from a political opponent (DNC via Fusion GPS). This is supposed to validate the ‘FBI/Mueller investigation is corrupted’ narrative… except it’s wrong.

Carter

Credit: Artyom Korotayev/TASS via Getty Images

Prior to having GOP staff write the memo, Wormtongue never read the FISA application itself. He has no idea what other evidence was presented to the court for the FBI to receive the warrant. I’m guessing this letter from 2013 in which Carter Page proudly identifies himself as an “informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin” was included.

The memo is so poorly written to the point that it discredits itself.

The memo does confirm that part of the Steele dossier was corroborated by the FBI. In a schizophrenic-like turn, the memo attempts to discredit this fact by using former FBI Director James Comey’s June 2017 prepared testimony citing the dossier as “salacious and unverified.” This is a blatant misinterpretation. Comey clearly stated he is referring to the “personally sensitive aspects” of the dossier (aka the alleged pee tape). During his testimony, Comey refused to answer if the Bureau had verified any of the dossier because it would go into “the details of the investigation.”

The memo establishes two very important pieces of information that actually work AGAINST Trump’s false narrative of the investigation.

The FISA warrant on Carter Page was renewed multiple times. Investigators returned to the FISA court every ninety days and showed new evidence they acquired through their investigation which would validate a renewal. They did this THREE times. This alone legitimizes the FBI case and Mueller’s investigation.

One argument conservative pundits (and GOP House members who didn’t read the application) are making is that the judges involved in signing off on the Page FISA warrants were unaware a political entity had funded a portion of the evidence presented to them. Like much of the GOP memo, this is false. The DOJ did notify the court, which an off-the-record official told The Washington Post.

Let’s get this out of the way also: The Republican memo takes issue with the political funding of the Steele dossier; however, this isn’t unusual for an investigation. The FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation partly began with allegations made in Peter Schweizer’s opposition research book, “Clinton Cash.”

Schweizer is the President and co-founder of the conservative group, the Government Accountability Institute. Schweizer started the GAI with Steve Bannon. Remember the GOP outrage on this? Neither do I.

The second major revelation in the GOP memo is that it confirms the December 30, 2017 New York Times story that the FBI investigation began in July 2016 with another Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos. Keep in mind, the first FISA warrant for Carter Page was issued in October 2016. It would not be surprising to find out that Papadopoulos bragging to a U.S. ally that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton was likely submitted as evidence for the warrant on Page.

Trump was advised against releasing the memo by his Department of Justice and his own FBI Director, Christopher Wray.

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Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Reports prior to the memo’s release read of Trump telling friends he could use it against the Russia investigation and discredit the FBI. This isn’t party over country… this is self over country.

How preposterous is the concept of the FBI and DOJ colluding against President Trump? The Trump administration’s official reason for firing FBI Director James Comey was based on a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, stating Comey treated Hillary Clinton unfairly.

Worth noting: James Comey, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller are all Republicans.

Former FBI acting assisting director, Chris Swecker told NPR of the conservative attacks against the bureau:

“If enough people believe it, it will have an impact on the agents on the street trying to conduct their investigation. They rely on people talking to them and believing in the credibility of the FBI.”

By the way, the FBI recently prevented a Christmas Day terror attack on San Francisco’s popular tourist spot, Pier 39.

Trump is continuing his crusade to erode the FBI and the DOJ… this week showed us the political party of “law and order” will help him do so.

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