The Nunes memo was released and if there’s one thing that has become exceedingly clear over the weekend, the memo was an overhyped dud. The goal of the memo was to muddy the waters surrounding Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling.
This hasn’t kept many traditionally conservative outlets from tapping out every last Trump apologist talking point. “The F.B.I. is bad.” “The Russia investigation is a nothingburger.” And Donald Trump and his campaign are the most innocent of victims and there was definitely not any collusion because Trump says so over and over again.
Those on both sides providing commentary leave out critical words and phrases or screw up the timeline. The ignorance comes across as willful.
They ignore details such as the fact that the first FISA warrant was not requested or granted until almost a month after Carter Page — a man with known questionable ties to Russia – left the Trump campaign in September of 2016. The word “former,” as my colleague Patterico wrote about this weekend, seems to be repeatedly left out of stories by the Trump apologia army.
In an article in the American Spectator, the author and presumably editors touted the idea that there would be no Russia investigation without the notorious Steele dossier.
“The Democrats are utterly panicked by the Memo because it clearly undercuts the justification for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Mr. Trump’s campaign.”
The problem is, Trey Gowdy, the one person who would know whether or not that’s true, stated unequivocally on Sunday that it’s not true.
“There is a Russia investigation without a dossier,” Gowdy said on CBS’s Face the Nation.
Gowdy went on to say in the interview:
“To the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. The dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos’ meeting in Great Britain. It also doesn’t have anything to do with obstruction of justice.”
This hasn’t stopped the President or his many apologists from decrying the F.B.I. and the Justice Department – who do have some issues to clarify over Comey’s characterization of parts of the dossier being “salacious and unverified” as opposed to the whole thing, which is what the F.B.I. claims – and saying the memo clears the Trump campaign of any wrongdoing.
Perhaps the Trump campaign was innocent of any collusion with the Russians. But Trump, Nunes and others have now created more animus between Trump Republicans and those in the Department of Justice, which is what they’ve done since day one. Trump, his campaign, and subsequent administration are in a situation of their own making. They created the situation, not a bunch of rogue FBI and DOJ employees hell-bent on Trump’s destruction for Hillary’s benefit.
The first FISA warrant issued for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was issued on October 21, 2016. These warrants are required to be re-upped every three months.
Before the applications for the Page warrant could be submitted to the FISA court, it had to be endorsed by the FBI director or his deputy. After that, it required approval by one of three people: the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, or the Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
The FBI director at the time, James Comey, signed three of the Carter FISA warrant applications. One was signed by his deputy director Andrew McCabe. Then-deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, then-acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more of the applications.
Look at those names. Democratic appointees all.
Trump had every opportunity to clear out the Democrat holdovers immediately upon taking office. If he was so concerned the investigation into Russia was a political scheme aimed to take down his campaign and presidency and knew it was ongoing, why on earth would he take nearly five months to fire Comey because of a failed loyalty test, consider Andrew McCabe as Comey’s replacement for FBI director and appoint Rod Rosenstein as Deputy Attorney General?
If the people Trump blasts on a daily basis were so bad, why would Best People Picker consistently choose so poorly?
It was Donald Trump who had Carter Page and Paul Manafort on his campaign. To say nothing of the debacle over Mike Flynn’s short-lived position in the administration.
It was Donald Trump who had his son and son-in-law as campaign staff, who were ultimately dumb enough to meet with Kremlin toady Valerie Veselnitskaya.
It was Donald Trump who had George Papadopolous on his campaign.
And it was Donald Trump who kept James Comey, et al. on after he became president and even later nominated Rod Rosenstein for his post.
When does the Trump apologia army admit the President created the situation he and his administration are now in? That the Nunes memo did not clear up anything and it definitely didn’t vindicate Trump or his campaign?
Don’t hold your breath.