In case you missed it, Congressman Nunes, the retiring head of the House Permanent Select Committee on intelligence, decided he wanted to release a memo which he claimed showed the FBI favored Clinton over Trump during the 2016 election. Intelligence Community professionals slammed the moved and claimed it was dangerous to release classified information.
Trump, announced in his typical boisterous fashion that he couldn’t wait to release the memo, and this morning tweeted in part, “The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago.”
So this was set up by Trump and Nunes as a “devastating blow” to the “credibility of the FBI.” Leaving aside the fact that a sitting president is taking the extraordinary step of directly attacking the highest profile federal law enforcement agency, the memo quite clearly does nothing to help Trump’s position. Making the whole show over releasing it a rather odd performance by Nunes and Trump.
First, the memo is an attack against the FBI for investigating Carter Page, one of Trump’s flunkies. Basically, it suggests the Page investigation was just a witch hunt initiated in the run up to the 2016 campaign, and was started based on the “Steele Dossier” that was released in 2016. Steele has been attacked by Republicans as a Hillary Clinton political hit man. Interesting news if that was true. But it’s not. The reality is the memo confirms that Page was under investigation for being an agent of the Russian government since 2014, and possibly as early as 2013. This is long before Trump announced he was going to run for president and “build the wall.”
Second, the memo attacks Steele as an unreliable source because Steele talked to the media and not because Steele’s information was false. In other words, attack the messenger.
Third, the Nunes memo claims that FBI agent Strzok, who has been the latest target of the Trump crowd as the “Hillary Clinton FBI mole,” had a clear bias to Clinton, and therefore had motivation to attack Trump. This bias, the memo claims, led Strzok to initiate an FBI counterintelligence investigation against Page and another Trump flunky,
Papadopoulos. This again would be interesting if true. The problem with this thinking is that it would be a bit strange for a supposed Hillary Clinton “FBI agent pro democrat spy” like Strzok to try to reopen the Clinton email investigation a week before the 2016 election–which if you recall caused significant political damage to Clinton just before an election. Kind of strange for a Hillary Clinton suck up, no?
Fourth, Nunes and the Republicans claim the FBI was out to get Trump. The memo, however, really only focuses on attacks against Carter Page as “unfair” and “biased.” It’s a bit strange to say an attack on Page is an attack on Trump, especially since Trump and his flunkies have been in the media repeatedly saying that Page was only a low level volunteer nobody during the campaign. So what would investigating a low level volunteer have to do with Trump?
Fifth, the memo’s secondary target, the Steele Dossier, was created by a company called Fusion GPS. The memo claims that Fusion GPS and the Steele Dossier is essentially a democrat hit job against Trump. Which would be strange because Fusion GPS was originally contracted by a republican group that wanted to find dirt on Trump, not democrats.
This whole memo saga has been quite strange. The Trump crowd played it up like it was going to be a knock out blow, but it’s not. Democrats were outraged, but it seems to have helped their case more than hurt it. And the Intelligence Community didn’t want the memo released because they said it distorted facts, but the memo is a big nothingburger. Seems like a lot of posturing and theatrics and drama over nothing.