Comrade Nunes

On February 2, 2018 Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) released the memo written by his staff at his direction. He claimed and continues to claim that it exposes wrongdoing by the FBI, as well as offering evidence of exoneration of the President of all crimes. You’ve likely heard more than you can stand about the memo, including that it is nothing more than propaganda because of its grossly misleading information and idiotic premise. I just want to pick out two key pieces for the purpose of questioning who and what are being served.

First, the memo focuses on the Christopher Steele dossier. If you have not read it, you owe it to yourself to do so. The dossier isn’t a single document, but a series of reports from Steele’s investigation into Donald Trump and his Russian activities. He was a subcontractor of Fusion GPS, a DC research firm headed by Glenn Simpson, which was contracted by Republicans during the primary season of 2016 to investigate Donald Trump. Once Trump won the nomination the Republicans no longer had a need for Fusion GPS to continue its work, so the contract was terminated. Shortly after that Fusion GPS was hired by the Clinton campaign and the DNC to continue its work.

Once getting into the research, Simpson saw that he needed expertise to dig into Trump’s Russian connections. He knew Steele from work on other projects and knew that he had been Brittain’s top MI-6 Russian operative, now doing private work, and that he was a highly competent and trustworthy individual, so Simpson hired Steele to do some investigating through his own sources. The result is the now famous dossier. If you want to know more, read the transcripts of the House and Senate committee interviews of Glenn Simpson.

One thing you’ll note immediately is that the FBI’s interest in Carter Page started at least as far back as 2013, long before Trump had announced his campaign. The FISA warrant to track Page was issued on October 21, 2016. This was well before Buzzfeed published the dossier on January 10, 2017, so the dossier wasn’t and couldn’t have been considered when the original FISA warrant was issued. The dossier was mentioned as additional information in the later re-authorizations of the warrant. Which is to say, the Republican claim that the FBI acted improperly by relying on what they claim is a dossier laced with false information is false. That is point one.

Point two is contained in a buried little sentence near the end of Nunes’ memo, which reads, “The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok.” First, that’s wrong, because the FBI had been tracking Page for years before then. More important, though, is that the admission that the FBI’s FISA warrant was based on information from a former advisor to Trump. That means that their whining about reliance on the dossier is flatly wrong.

All of which means that Nunes’ memo doesn’t expose FBI wrongdoing, nor does it exonerate Trump. In fact, if you look carefully at the information you’ll see that a reasonable interpretation is that it does the exact opposite, something Nunes apparently just doesn’t get, because he’s blathering into the right wing echo chamber about how damning of the FBI his memo is. The question we’re left with is why Nunes would publish a memo at all.

Put his memo in the context of his attempt at Trump exoneration last year. He held a press conference on the White House lawn, announcing information he had received from the White House the night before. He claimed he delivered that information to the White House that morning, as though it were critical new data to White House staff, a bizarre stunt. So, we’re left to wonder why he would do that, too.

Nunes has done all he could to handcuff the efforts of the House Intelligence Committee he chairs, done his idiotic midnight ride to the White House and now he’s issued his misleading memo, all clearly aimed at derailing any and all investigations into Donald Trump. Why would he do that?

We know that Nunes was on the Trump transition team while some of the nefarious things like the June meeting in Trump Tower were happening, leaving us to wonder what he might have been involved in or privy to. We can guess that he’s trying to protect his own butt, but at what cost?

Back to the question of who and what are being served by Nunes’ actions.

Nunes’ apparent obstruction of justice through attack and smokescreen, his outright disparagement of the FBI and the Justice Department and now his announcing yet more memos to come, with the next one focused on impugning the entire State Department, has an effect. Nunes is undermining our nation-of-laws infrastructure as though he is the American propaganda agent for Vladimir Putin. He’s doing Russia’s work, effectively surrendering America to Russia without a shot fired.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we’re on a path to continually fail to make things better. It’s my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That’s the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

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Copyright 2018 by Jack Altschuler
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One Response to Comrade Nunes
  1. David L. Lindgren Reply

    Jack, thanks for all of your research. So much clap trap musings go on without the thorough thoughtfulness which I trust exists within our government structure. This investigation is going to be thorough of Nunes and I can’t wait to see the results.