The Nunes Memo is a Big Nothing

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

You can read the full memo I've embedded below for yourself, but I'll sum it up for you here.

It doesn't tell us much that we didn't already know, but what it does tell us is not necessarily good news for Trump or those trying to discredit the investigation of Trump.

Republicans have claimed the entire investigation was based on Christopher Steele's "pee tape" dossier, but the Nunes memo makes it clear that the investigation began when the FBI was tipped off by Australian diplomats who spoke to former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos. The memo explicitly states that "the Papadopoulous information triggered the opening on an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strozk."

The Nunes memo also tells us the FISA warrant on former Trump adviser Carter Page was renewed 3(!) times including 2 times under Trump. We were previously only aware that the warrant was renewed once.

Finally, the memo states that Carter Page was an adviser for the Trump campaign. Trump's people have previously claimed that he wasn't.

Look, I figured Devin Nunes for a fool, but this is one of the biggest self-owns I've ever seen. Nunes released a statement after the memo was released that says he uncovered "serious violations of the public trust" but there is literally nothing in this memo that supports that. That claim is centered around FISA warrants for a bumbling man (Carter Page) who practically screams probable cause every time he opens his mouth.

  • muselet

    Calling Devin Nunes’s memo a nothingburger is an insult to nothingburgers.

    It is serving its purpose, though: distracting our glorious news media from Donald Trump’s various legal difficulties.


  • fry1laurie

    Drumpf’s favorite sandwich isn’t a Big Mac, it’s a Nothing Burger.

  • Badgerite

    The Nunes memo is really like trying to close the coral gate after the horses have stampeded. The problem with trying to say this was a misuse of the intelligence powers of surveillance for political purposes is all the evidence that was uncovered of Russian intelligence all over the trump campaign, and the digital communications and records that show that the trump campaign were indeed up to their eyeballs and complicit in that Russian operation to interfere in the American election of 2016.
    And, as Bob Cesca points out in his tweets, currently two guilty pleas and two indictments. And possibly one more guilty plea soon.
    In other words, the surveillance proved that the Steele Dossier was correct in its most significant allegations. Of a conspiracy going on between Russian intelligence and the trump campaign to violate US law and affect the outcome of the US election. The intelligence community and the FBI were correct in their belief that something illegal that imperiled our election was going on here. The FISA warrant has been proven over and over again to have been justified by the evidence that was uncovered. That evidence is the basis of the Mueller probe. And that evidence is really solid.
    There were high level meetings and contacts and attempts to cover them up. And a lot of lying about those contacts.
    And quite open attempts to derail the investigation. Guilty pleas and indictments.
    The intelligence community was right. The probable cause proved true.

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  • David Greenberg

    I read a reader comment somewhere that Nunes is badly compromised by the Russians. Anybody else seen anything like that? I haven’t been able to find anything else along that line.

    • muselet

      I’ve seen a few such comments, but they’re either stated as “everybody knows” categoricals or “it kinda looks like” speculation.

      Me, I think Devin Nunes is just a not-very-bright but very, very loyal R, out to protect his President.


  • Badgerite

    I think maybe Nunes was thinking to focus in on the fact that FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was taken off of the Mueller trump/Russia investigations because of texts that expressed derogatory views of the trump, was involved in the request for the FISA warrant on Carter Page. That’s all I can think of. And that isn’t very sound ground to claim there was something improper about the FISA warrant on Carter Page. Strzok, after all, expressed derogatory views towards a lot of politicians including Hilary Clinton and was one of the agents who advocated reopening of the FBI investigation on Clinton’s private email server when it was found that some of those communications to Clinton from State were found on the computer of Anthony Weiner during that investigation.