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Why the Nunes memo is a dud

Q

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The memo written by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-California, was released on Friday after weeks of being hyped up by the Grand Old Party.

Only four pages long, the memo was conceived by Nunes as a means of exposing partisan-motivated wrongdoing on the part of the FBI and the ongoing Department of Justice investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The memo states that in Oct. 2016 the DOJ and the FBI sought and received a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act probable cause order that allowed for the surveillance of Carter Page, a former Trump campaign advisor.

It then states that this information provided to the judge relied on a single source, the Steele dossier, a document compiled by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele that detailed allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

The memo emphasized that the impartiality of this dossier should be questioned as it was commissioned by Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Convention.

It then alleges that the FBI lied to the federal judge that issued the warrant about whether or not they were solely relying on the Steele dossier.

The memo concluded that the FBI and the DOJ abused their power and were using the investigation as a partisan measure to undermine the Trump administration.

Overall, it seems that the point of this memo is to discredit the FBI and the DOJ in order to hinder, and/or ultimately dismantle the ongoing investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The memo, however, seems to do the opposite of that.

While Nunes and the Republican party would like to claim that the warrant for the surveillance of Page was based purely on the Steele dossier, this is not the case.

The New York Times reported that back in 2013 three Russian intelligence operatives had met with Page in order to recruit him.

Further, in an interview with NPR’s Rachel Martin, Adam Entous, a reporter for the Washington Post, said, “In order to get a case like that, you have to look through what would have been available to the FBI. They knew from previous court cases back in 2013 that Mr. Page had engaged with a Russian – what he thought was a Russian diplomat that turned out to be an intelligence officer for Russia.”

“That was one piece of the puzzle that they had to basically show the court in order to get this FISA,” Entous said. “But that’s just one piece. We don’t have a full understanding of the intelligence that went into the request that ultimately the court approved.”

As for the accuracy of the document as a whole, the FBI, in a rare public statement, said, “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

How ironic is it that Nunes is guilty of the same thing that he accuses the FBI and the DOJ of doing? Where he accuses them of misleading a federal judge, he is guilty of misleading the public.

Not only is he misleading the public, but he is also doing so without having even read the documents that he cites in the memo himself, according to a letter from the DOJ.

Furthermore, in his attempt to discredit the Russia investigation, he actually provides the public with more proof to support it.

On the last page of the memo it says, “The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok.”

This means that the investigation into the Russian interference was not based solely on the Steele dossier, but instead it was non-partisanly triggered by the actions of Papadopoulos.

So what does this mean? It means that the GOP has yet again shown the American people that it will always put party over country.

This brazen partisan act of attempting to subvert justice should show just how close to the truth the DOJ investigation is.

Ultimately this raises the question, if a large portion of the GOP is so desperate to stop this investigation into collusion, and few on the right are opposed to this action, how many of the GOP are complicit?

Only time will tell.

Q Russell is a junior journalism major from Charlotte, North Carolina. You can follow him on Twitter at @Q_M_Russell

Photo courtesy of U.S. Congress

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Why the Nunes memo is a dud