Saturday, February 3, 2018

Memo exactly as big a dud as everyone predicted

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23:  Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes (R-CA) speaks to reporters after leaving a closed meeting with fellow committee members, on Capitol Hill March 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. ÊNunes has been under fire from committee members for informing President Donald Trump about the U.S. intelligence community's incidental collection of communications involving members of the president's transition group.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Now that Donald Trump and Devin Nunes have conspired to damage the FBI and DOJ by releasing a document that makes slanted, unsupported charges about bias and malpractice, it’s possible to see just how big a deal the underlying charges actually are. And … they are absolutely, completely, just as meaningless as previews of the memo had implied.

As expected, the focus of the three-page document is the FISA warrant application for Carter Page. The sum total of charges against the FBI and DOJ is that in the process of applying for a FISA warrant against Page, the FBI used a document from Christopher Steele. The memo then spends some time trying to make the case that Steele is a poor source because he was “suspended then terminated as an FBI source” for talking to the media. Which says not one thing about the validity of the incident that was cited.

In fact, the incident seems to have been Carter Page’s trip to Moscow, which not only happened, but happened with the full knowledge of the Trump campaign.

The other half of the memo is spent name dropping: Hillary Clinton, Sally Yates, Bruce Ohr, Fusion CEO Glenn Simpson, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe all make an appearance. Though none of them seem to have done anything wrong, except for Nunes’ contention that they didn’t like Trump.

The memo closes with a paragraph devoted to the idea that Papadopoulos and Page never talked to each other, so Page’s trip to Moscow and meeting with Russian officials couldn’t have had anything to do with Papadopoulos telling the Trump campaign that someone should go to Moscow and meet with Russian officials. Seriously. That’s how weak this whole thing is.

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