This may be the first in what I expect to be a long series of leaks and rebuttals to Nunes’ partisan attempt to upend the Russia probe.
A new report pretty much gut-punches the main premise of the memo: The courts weren’t informed by the Justice Department that the Steele dossier was part of political oppo-research.
The Washington Post reported Friday that Justice Department officials made “ample disclosure of relevant, material facts” to the court that a political entity provided financial backing for the research, though they did not name Hillary Clinton‘s presidential campaign or the Democratic National Committee.
So the court was fine with the dossier being political oppo-research. I imagine that other factors combined created enough of a basis in the court’s mind that the “who” behind it didn’t matter.
The memo, itself, went on to say the former British intelligence agent responsible for the dossier, Christopher Steele, was a reliable source, so it’s not like he was a crackpot pushing a story to the National Enquirer, claiming Trump’s dad was connected to the assassination of a president, or something.
He was a legitimate, experienced agent.
That memo alleges that FBI and Justice Department officials misused their authority to obtain a surveillance order on Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, and presented the dossier as evidence without disclosing that its research had been partially funded by the Clinton campaign and the DNC.
What the memo leaves out is that the FISA application was filed a month after Page had left Trump’s team.
It also fails to point out that Carter Page is somebody who had been under scrutiny for his uncomfortable connections since about 2013. His name wasn’t picked at random, in order to get at the Trump campaign.
Democrats with the House Intelligence Committee, as well as officials with the DOJ and FBI objected to the release of the memo, citing what they called inaccuracies and incomplete information.
Those inaccuracies and omissions were deliberate, guys.
While there was certainly some behavior in the Obama administration DOJ and FBI that ranged from sloppy to corrupt, as a whole, the agencies are still manned by professionals, and this memo was weaponized to take down both, in service to a wannabe-king.
Democrats on the committee have their own memo, in rebuttal to Nunes’ work. Supposedly, it fills in the blanks and corrects the inaccuracies of the Trumplican version.
Nunes appeared on American Pravda (that’s Fox News) to poo-poo any notion that a judge was aware of the dossier’s political backers.
“These guys tell so many lies you can’t keep track of them,” Nunes said. “If the court did know that, I think the judge would have to be considered very suspect, but I don’t think that happened at all.”
You are a ridiculous man. Who voted for you? Now it’s the judge?
Who’s next? The company that manufactured the software the dossier was written with?
Nothing about that statement sounds professional or reasonable. It actually sounds desperate and petty.
But officials familiar with the matter told the Post that the Republicans’ allegation that the court was not notified of the funding source was unfounded.
They said it was made clear that the dossier had been compiled “at the behest of people with a partisan aim and that it was being done in opposition to Trump,” according to the Post.
And again, it wasn’t the only part considered in granting the initial warrant. Nor was it the basis for the subsequent warrants that were granted. There had to be something compelling gathered with the first warrant to make any further surveillance seem necessary.
In the same interview, Nunes went on to admit that Adam Schiff, the committee’s ranking Democrat’s assertion that he didn’t even read the FISA application for surveillance was essentially true.
He gave that job to Trey Gowdy, who reviewed the application and made notes.
Given that Gowdy has decided to throw his hands up and walk away from politics, amid chatter that he’s butted heads with fellow Republicans (especially Nunes) on the committee, now takes on new relevance.
I’m not saying they took Gowdy’s efforts and twisted them for a hyper-partisan purpose. We can’t really know that, unless post-Washington Gowdy decides to spill the beans. It certainly seems that way, however.
OH – and Gowdy’s comments on the memo appear to lessen the importance of the memo that Trump partisans have placed on it.
Nice try, guys.