On Friday, the memo authored by Representative Devin Nunes of the House Intelligence Committee was finally released. Since news of its existence, there has been a steady rise in hysteria on both sides of the political aisle.
The Democrats, often led by Representative Adam Schiff, expressed great anguish over the document, certain that it would be a tragic turning point in our nation’s history as it would “put the president’s personal interest, perhaps their own political interest, above the national interest.” The Republicans, with Nunes as the lead, were almost certain it would alter the course of the Mueller investigation into President Donald Trump and clearly expose severe abuses within the intelligence community.
When the dust settled on Friday night, and the talking heads had made their rounds on the shows, many in the audience let out a collective sigh.
But it’s not, and members of both parties know it. This is their greatest frustration. Democrats and Republicans wanted some sort of dramatic conclusion or shift in national thinking toward their side, and neither got what they were seeking.
The memo does contain some worrisome information, including questions about the basis of FISA warrants, and how the Steele dossier, a politically-motivated document, played a part. However, we need to know more. Much more, actually. We need the underlying information. We need to see more documentation. In fact, we need to see the Democratic response to the memo, too.
As it stands right now, the memo doesn’t mean much more than Nunes’ own opinion.
In a Friday night appearance on Special Report with Bret Baier, the man whose name has become synonymous with the memo, Representative Devin Nunes, admitted something huge. At about 1:00 into the interview, Nunes admits that he didn’t even read the underlying evidence, specifically the FISA applications, that supposedly back up the memo’s claims.
Who has read the documentation? Representative Trey Gowdy. Who has also been vocally supportive of Mueller and the investigation, as well as the intelligence community, and is not seeking re-election? Representative Trey Gowdy.
If anything, the memo confirms that both Republicans and Democrats are concerned with creating political theater to both satisfy and stir up their base. They are eager to remind the electorate that if it weren’t for them, the other side would be unbridled in their abilities to do x, y, and z.
To be sure, we must hold members of the intelligence community accountable. We must hold Congress accountable. We must hold the president and his administration accountable.
In a political climate that is more divisive than ever, it’s necessary to remind ourselves that these binary players are concerned with advancing their own agenda, no matter if we see or hear all the evidence surrounding their claims or not. For both parties, narratives are a big deal. We’re supposed to agree with Republicans, absent supporting evidence, and draw conclusions from a one-sided document. We’re also supposed to agree with Democrats, who are eager to undermine this administration in any way, and trust their claims.
It gets very tiresome.
As my colleague Patterico suggested earlier, forget #ReleaseTheMemo and let’s begin #ReleaseTheDocumentation. However, I can almost guarantee that any campaign which follows the #MemoGate hype will not be as widely spoken of or followed. The lead-up to the memo’s release was all about the drama of what might be the truth. What the whole truth actually is remains to be seen.
Amazingly, some of our fellow Americans thought that upon release of a 4-page document all of our questions would be answered? We’re a silly electorate easily swayed by political theater.
And the Democrats and Republicans know that.