ECLECTIC RANT: Comment on release of controversial Nunes’ memo

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday February 10, 2018 - 05:05:00 PM

The release of the highly-anticipated Representative Devin Nunes’ memo which claims to show the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI abusing their surveillance power, is really just a list of past Republican talking points on Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. 

Trump’s and the GOP leaders’ main justification for the release is all about transparency. "I've always believed in the public's right to know,” Vice President Mike Pence said. I assume Trump will now disclose his tax returns. 

This is a spurious argument when we are only going to see the memo crafted by House Intelligence Committee Republicans — and possibly with White House assistance — but not the Democrat rebuttal. The GOP-controlled committee voted not to release the rebuttal.  

The memo seeks to undercut the Steele dossier used by the FBI as support for applications for warrants to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor Carter Page, a Trump campaign associate. Of course, the Nunes’ memo does not reveal what other support the FBI produced to obtain the warrants because the committee could have, but did not, approve the release of those documents. 

Clearly, transparency was not the committee’s goal in releasing the memo. 

What then were the reasons for releasing the classified memo? The only reasons I can see is to undermine the credibility of the DOJ and the FBI and by extension Mueller’s Russia probe, and a pretext to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and possibly even Mueller. 

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) comment on the release of the Nunes’ memo is right on point: “The latest attacks against the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests ― no party’s, no President’s, only Putin’s. The American people deserve to know all the facts surrounding Russia’s ongoing efforts to subvert our democracy, which is why Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation must proceed unimpeded. Our nation’s elected officials, including the president, must stop looking at this investigation through the lens of politics and manufacturing political sideshows. If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.” 

I look forward to reading the Democrat rebuttal if Trump allows its release.