Listen up, young people: Emily Litella is a character developed by Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live. Each week, she would fly into a rage about something that she had misheard (“what’s all this I hear about violins on TV?” and then at the end of her rant, someone would whisper the real thing in her ear (“it’s actually “violence”) and she would say: “Oh. Never mind!”
Now Devin Nunes is in line to be Emily Litella’s successor. Today he admitted that his huge, explosive #TheMemo — which alleged that the FBI concealed the political origins of a dossier — got one fairly significant fact wrong: namely, that detail had not been concealed, but rather had been disclosed:
Republican leaders are acknowledging that the FBI disclosed the political origins of a private dossier the bureau cited in an application to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, undermining a controversial GOP memo released Friday and fueling Democratic demands to declassify more information about the bureau’s actions.
. . . .
“Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior and FBI officials,” the memo alleged.
But in an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Nunes was asked about reports over the weekend that the FBI application did refer to a political entity connected to the dossier. It is unclear precisely what language the application might have used.
Nunes conceded that a “footnote” to that effect was included in the application, while faulting the bureau for failing to provide more specifics.
“A footnote saying something may be political is a far cry from letting the American people know that the Democrats and the Hillary campaign paid for dirt that the FBI then used to get a warrant on an American citizen to spy on another campaign,” Nunes said on “Fox & Friends.”
News flash, fellas: if this revelation comes as news to you, you got suckered. It was always obvious that Devin Nunes was a partisan, unreliable character — and thus it was always likely that this memo was, essentially, garbage. The clues were all there, for anyone who bothered to look. For example: #TheMemo claimed that James Comey had testified that the entire dossier was “salacious and unverified,” when Comey’s publicly available testimony showed that he had said nothing of the sort. And #TheMemo implied (and countless partisan commentators repeated) that Carter Page had been employed by the Trump campaign when the initial FISA application was sought, when in reality he had stepped down from the campaign nearly a month before.
And now this.
This is why I said three days ago, when #TheMemo was released:
Amid all the excitement over the Devin Nunes #TheMemo, it is important to remember that it is a partisan summary of FISA warrant applications that we the People have not been allowed to see. . . . Remember: Nunes is someone who already showed himself to be of questionable credibility when it came to defending Trump’s claim that Obama wiretapped him. Now he’s misrepresenting public testimony that anyone can read. Yet we’re supposed to believe his summary of a still-classified FISA warrant based on these broad-brush smears?
Always trust content from Patterico.
The correction will get nowhere near as much attention as the original smear, of course. On Twitter, this sort of thing happens so often that it’s a meme of sorts: Original falsehood: 10,000 retweets. Correction: 27 retweets.
Still, the facts are the facts. And now the Trumpian defense will move to arguments like “it wasn’t disclosed enough” and other partisan arguments — all of which rely on the very same #TheMemo that totally and completely misstated this fact to begin with.
At a certain point, sensible people are going to increasingly demand what I and several others have been demanding all along: #ReleaseTheDocumentation. Meaning: release the original application and the renewals in redacted form, so we can see what the FISA court was really looking at. (It’s hard to make a hashtag out of that; sorry — I tried my best.)
And if you can’t release that, then I’m not listening to your partisan, incomplete, misleading summaries — from either side.
#ReleaseTheDocumentation or go home.