I know, I know…everybody’s sick of hearing about The Memo. But just indulge me here, because House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) released a video today with the explicit goal of answering the question “why” the document matters — from the perspective of Republican members of the House — and it’s worth a watch.
You deserve the truth. Here is why the FISA memo matters ↓ pic.twitter.com/xt7jPFPvDG
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) February 8, 2018
It includes statements from Reps. Trey Gowdy and Devin Nunes, both members of the House Intelligence Committee that drafted the memo (with the former being the primary author of the document). Gowdy, for his part, makes much of the how easy it easy to disclose the financial source of the Steele dossier — which we know was Hillary Clinton and the DNC via Fusion GPS — and says the Democrats have yet to explain why they went to “great lengths” to obscure that information from the FISA judge when seeking the warrant to spy on Carter Page.
Gowdy also mentions that Steele was more a parrot than a reliable source on the information that wound up in the dossier, merely repeating what other foreign and domestic sources said should be included in the dossier (that, as of yet, remains unverified).
The video also briefly touches on the Graham-Grassley letter, essentially a criminal referral issued by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. It says Steele wrote an additional memo with more details than what was included in the dossier. To most, it looks to be a bigger smoking gun than the House Intelligence Committee memo.
[T]he Grassley/Graham is a significantly bigger deal than Nunes. In our analysis of the latter document last week, we wrote that a major question was how much the DOJ relied on the Steele dossier itself to gain a FISA warrant against former Trump adviser Carter Page. According to Grassley/Graham, the answer is a lot. I posited that if investigators had used the unverified dossier as a starting point from which to chase down leads and produce more solid evidence to present to a FISA judge, that’d be one thing. But if they leaned heavily on Steele’s file itself as the “evidence,” that would be sketchier. According to the two GOP Senators, the FBI did the latter.
In short, the video out of McCarthy’s office is an abbreviated attempt, using the major players from the Republican side, to explain why anyone should care about memo madness as it continues on and becomes an investigation of the State Department (as Nunes is promising it will).
Noticeably absent? Any mention of Robert Mueller or the halting of a Russia collusion investigation.