Democrats Squelched As GOP Releases FBI-Bashing Memo

UPDATE #3: According to a report from the Washington PostPresident Trump decided that the memo should be released before he even read the document. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly also reportedly told Trump that the memo was “not as compelling as some of its advocates had promised.”


UPDATE #2: Former FBI Director James Comey seems perplexed by the content of the memo (the Washington Post has a good annotated version of the full memo, BTW):


UPDATE: Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado weighs in:

It is the sacred duty of elected officials to put the interests of our country ahead of their own political fate. Anyone who does not see that this is a concerted effort to distort the record, and ultimately undermine the incontrovertible reputation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the credibility of his investigation, is failing to uphold that duty.

Having had the privilege to work with the FBI earlier in my career, I find it particularly disgraceful that the President would disregard the judgement of the men and women at the FBI and the Justice Department. By releasing the memo, he is undermining the investigation into a foreign adversary’s interference in our democratic process and continuing to assault the integrity of the U.S. intelligence community. The President is showing, once again, that he cares more about himself than the country.


Politico reporting on the day’s show-stopping national political story:

Republicans on Capitol Hill, backed by President Donald Trump, defied pleas from the FBI and Democrats Friday and released a classified memo alleging misconduct by senior FBI officials investigating President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The memo’s emergence marks a dramatic new stage in the GOP’s effort to delegitimize the federal probe into whether the Kremlin infiltrated and even influenced Trump’s campaign. It comes after weeks of build-up and partisan anger, as Democrats warned Republicans not to play politics with classified intelligence.

In a briefing, House intelligence committee staff said the memo reveals that the Steele Dossier was a factor in the initial Oct. 21, 2016, warrant to spy on Carter Page and was included in several 90-day renewals as well. Three of the applications were signed off on by Comey and one by his longtime deputy, Andrew McCabe.

The FBI led by Trump-appointed Director Christopher Wray did everything they could within their professional constraints to explain that the Republican memo’s conclusions were not to be trusted:

“With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it,” the FBI said in a statement. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.” [Pols emphasis]

After Republicans authorized the release of their memo while blocking the release of a response prepared by the Democratic minority on the House Intelligence Committee, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi rained fire on Trump and committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes:

President Trump has surrendered his constitutional responsibility as Commander-in-Chief by releasing highly classified and distorted intelligence. By not protecting intelligence sources and methods, he just sent his friend Putin a bouquet…

Nunes’ partisan spin memo distorts highly classified intelligence in a cynical attempt to discredit our national intelligence and law enforcement agencies and the Special Counsel investigation. Releasing the memo is a desperate attempt to distract the American people from the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal.

One year ago, the intelligence community concluded that the Russians interfered in our elections and plan to do so again. Yet, the President refuses to hold Putin accountable, making us all ask: what do the Russians have on Trump, politically, financially and personally?

Far from materially refuting the larger case that the Trump campaign colluded and benefitted from Russian intelligence operations during his narrowly successful 2016 election campaign, the Republican memo appears to focus on the propriety of the so-called “pee-pee tape” dossier in an attempt to undermine the Justice Department’s investigation of Trump both during and after the presidential election.

Politically, there’s nothing we can see from initial reports to indicate anyone not already ensconced in the Trump media bubble will be persuaded by the content of this report. But even if it did contain some kind of smoking gun, the controversial manner and timing of its release confines any help it provides to the same percentage of Republican party faithful.

For the over 60% of Americans who don’t approve of this presidency, it’s just more proof of the GOP’s complicity.

30 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. davebarnes says:

    The Pee Tapes are real.
    This is all about heading those off when they surface out of Vlad's vault.

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    It would be long now before the poo-flinging flying monkey lands here and starts todsing some Fox around . . . 

    . . . In presponse, let me just say that somehow (yes, it’s hard to fathom), this President is even more dangerous than Fluffy is stupid. (Don’t ask me how that’s even possible.)

  3. RepealAndReplace says:

    Right about now Comey must be particularly happy that his reopened investigation saved us from President Hillary Clinton.

    • notaskinnycook says:

      As badly as I think Comey was treated by The Screaming Yam, it's hard for me to feel sorry for him after the way he sabotaged the Clinton campaign.

      • I still get the feeling that the NY field office had sieve-like qualities and Comey felt pressure from within to make that announcement to Congress – where Republicans promptly leaked it.

        The Nunes memo is continuing a tradition in Congress of ignoring the intelligence agencies and FBI's requests for quiet patience, adding a drop of complete misrepresentation.

  4. Moderatus says:

    The memo proves that a Democrat hit job memo with no credibility was the basis for an FBI investigation by a Democrat administration against a Republican candidate for President. It is the biggest abuse of power since Watergate.

    Bury your head in the sand all you want to.

    The "RUSSIAGATE" scandal just imploded.

    • unnamed says:

      I thought blue lives mattered to you.  Now you want to undermine them.  Way to throw your fellow Republicans under the bus.  And I mean Comey and Muller.  


    • What's so big about this memo to you, Mod?

      Do you see the Steele dossier as the key? 'Cause it's neither the beginning or the end of this investigation – nor even the central part of the first 2016 FISA warrant against Page.

      Do you believe that all of these various career and appointed (and often Republican) officials were in on a conspiracy or somehow negligent? FISA renewals require the previous warrant to have resulted in actionable intelligence…

      Or do you just see it as the thing that allows Republicans to make wild statements like Rep Gosar's, implying that Democrats are actual enemies of the state?

    • Republican 36 says:

      How does the memo implode the Russia investigation? I read it and it is narrowly focused on the FISA warrants and the renewal of those warrants to investigate Carter Page, one of President Trump's foreign policy advisers during the 2016 campaign. That is a very thin slice of the pie and certainly doesn't undermine the remainder of Mueller's investigation, especially not his integrity. And the memo certainly doesn't erase the fact that Donald Jr., Kushner, Manafort and other Trump campaign staff met with Russians to obtain information about Hillary Clinton and then lied about the subject of the conversation. It doesn't erase the fact Flynn and Attorney General Sessions had conversations with the Russians during or immediately after the 2016 election. It doesn't erase the fact Papadopolous was in contact with Russians during the campaign and then lied about it. The memo doesn't erase the fact the Russians attempted to influence 2016 elections.

      But more importantly, the memo certainly has no impact – none – on the one overriding question. Since the Russians attempted to influence our 2016 election through clandestine means and simultaneously Trump's son, son-in-law, campaign manager, and campaign supporters, at the highest level of his campaign, were in contact with the Russians about the campaign did they collude with the Russians? The memo doesn't answer that question but Mr. Mueller's investigation will.

      • Davie says:

        To use a favorite saying of Moderatus', this memo is a nothing burger. 

        The outlines of the memo were widely detailed in news reports in recent days. Several details from the complete memo show that it reflects a line of attack circulating for weeks in conservative media outlets,

        Nunes and the White House are coordinating with their Fox network friends in a desperate attempt to cover up their guilt, heedless of the damage they are doing to our institutions.  The more they protest, the more likely that they are deathly afraid of being held accountable for their reprehensible actions.

    • Davie says:

      Hey Fluffy — you can put your pecker back in your pants:

      If you want proof of what a dud this memo truly is, let’s hear from Trey Gowdy, Mr. Benghazi himself, who read the Nunes Memo before it was released, has read the intelligence reports it was based on and has read the Democratic rebuttal. Gowdy tweeted, after some mumbo-jumbo about transparency, “As I have said repeatedly, I also remain 100 percent confident in Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The contents of this memo do not – in any way – discredit his investigation.”

    • Mike W. says:

      Oh come on this guy is clearly a troll. Its not even Macedonian troll territory anymore, this is just some kid writing bad caricatures of far-right bloggers. 

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      What this memo “proves” is the shameless obstruction of justice that has become part and parcel of the leadership of a lawless Republican Party and the Presidency. 

      • Davie says:

        And from Senator John McCain's statement, they can probably add "traitor" to their resumes:

        “The latest attacks against the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests ― no party’s, no President’s, only Putin’s,” McCain added. “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.”

    • spaceman65 says:

      Seriously, Moddy, you have no clue how federal criminal investigations work.  Imploding?  I think not.  But go ahead and snug up that tinfoil hat.  


  5. Davie says:

    While it would seem to be a low-probability scenario, I suspect this is what has GOPers pooping in their diapers:

    Russia probe lawyers think Mueller could indict Trump

  6. Talk of the shows this evening: what did Carter Page know when he bragged to Chris Hayes that vindication would come when Paul Ryan revealed the conspiracy behind the Steele dossier? [ back in October]

  7. MichaelBowman says:

    So much winning imploding…

    The man that put the memo together now claims he did not read the material on which he is basing his conclusions. The man that did read the underlying material announced earlier this week he is leaving Congress.

    Nunes: I did not read material summarized in the memo


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