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On House Intelligence Committee Democrat Memo

Mike Reed - February 24, 2018

Does this show that the Nunes memo is wrong?

  • The Democrat Memo is sadly nothing more than a hyper-partisan effort to obscure and deflect from deeply troubling potential abuses of the FISA court brought to light by Intelligence Committee Republicans.  
  • Democrats have utterly failed to rebut key findings of the Nunes Memo, including that:
    • ​DOJ apparently never divulged to the FISA court that information compiled by Christopher Steele – which was a basis for an application for surveillance of a former Trump campaign advisor – was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
       
    • Law enforcement officials knew that Steele adamantly opposed Donald Trump – he said, for example, that he was “desperate” to derail Trump’s candidacy – but DOJ apparently did not include this information in its FISA applications. 
       
    • Then-FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe testified before the Intelligence Committee that FBI would not have sought FISA surveillance without the Steele dossier information.
       
    • The wife of a now-demoted DOJ official, Bruce Ohr, worked for the DNC - and Clinton -  funded firm compiling the Steele dossier (Fusion GPS) and in that capacity helped perform opposition research on Donald Trump, and Ohr himself has a relationship with Steele.
       
  • Democrats should welcome sunlight on potential abuses of the FISA court – it is imperative that law enforcement officials exercise their authorities impartially and fairly.Where there is a reason to believe they have acted out of political spite – for example, to affect an election or reverse its results – the facts and circumstances must be thoroughly and promptly investigated.

Wasn’t the Nunes Memo much ado about nothing?

  • Far from it. The revelations of the Nunes memo are deeply troubling. What is more, they are of a piece with broader issues that Congress and other appropriate authorities should fully investigate, including:
    • The potential that the investigative process has been tainted by improper political motives, as evidenced by text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page that include expletive-laden insults against Donald Trump’s candidacy and a reference to an “insurance policy” in the event of a Trump victory.
       
    • Then-President Obama’s apparent desire to be kept apprised of work performed by Strzok and others.
       
    • Steele’s potentially misleading and untruthful statements to Congress; the FBI’s continued reliance on the Steele dossier despite terminating Steele as a source; and Steele’s own connections to Russian operatives and the extent to which the Clinton campaign and DNC may have supported these connections.
       
    • Irregularities in Congress’s investigation, including efforts by Democratic members to obtain information from Ukrainian and Russian sources.
       
    • Congress’s continued failure to get to the bottom of the Clinton email scandal, particularly in light of concerns that improper political considerations may have influenced senior law enforcement officials’ decisions with respect to the handling of that matter.

Shouldn’t the President have declassified the Democrat memo when it was first sent to him?

  • The President has always been inclined to declassify the memo. But the Democrats appear to have deliberately included sensitive national security and law enforcement information that they knew would have to be redacted in the hopes of gaining a political talking point.
  • Democrats should have followed the example of their Republican colleagues and removed sensitive information from day one – but they didn’t, forcing the President to send it back so that the appropriate redactions to protect the national security could be made

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