Memo Madness: @POTUS Approves FISA Memo Release, Pelosi Unleashes on Nunes
President Trump has approved the release of the House Intelligence Committee’s controversial memo reportedly outlining abuses by the FBI and DOJ in obtaining FISA warrants against the Trump campaign and presidency. The memo could drop as early as today.
Democrats are in full panic mode, with both House and Senate Minority leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer calling for the removal of committee Chairman Devin Nunes.
The Pelosi Panic
This morning, in a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan, Pelosi launched a vicious, personal assault on Rep. Nunes. She says Nunes has “disgraced” the House Intelligence Committee. He’s “abused his position to launch a highly unethical and dangerous cover-up campaign for the White House.” (Cover-up? Who’s the one trying to cover up information?)
“Congressman Nunes’ deliberately dishonest actions make him unfit to serve as Chairman,” she fumes, “and he must be removed immediately from his position.”
Schumer soon followed with a similar attack.
One thing Pelosi cites is: “It has come to our attention that Congressman Nunes deliberately and materially altered the contents of the memo since it was voted on by the House Republicans. This action is not only dangerous, it is illegitimate and violates House rules.”
The Committee’s top Democrat Adam Schiff, who’s been working overtime to thwart the release, thwart the investigation and slur anyone hoping to bring DOJ/FBI abuses to light, pressed the same point last night. He ominously warned that Nunes had made “material changes” to the memo before sending it to the White House, charging that the changes “do not correct the profound distortions and inaccuracies in your document.”
The facts, however, point to who’s really doing the distorting and deceiving. According to the Washington Post, the decision to release the memo was made after the White House agreed to redactions at the FBI’s request. Fox News reports there were also a couple of grammatical changes and one more change requested by Democrats on the committee.
So apparently they want the memo stopped because of changes the FBI wanted, changes the Democrats wanted and changes your 7th-grade English teacher wanted, besides.
The FBI Statement
In related news — and raising similar questions — the FBI sneaked a statement to a couple news organizations early yesterday morning that quickly became the talk of the media universe, from then on and all day long. (It’d be six hours later before the statement appeared on the FBI website.)
The FBI takes seriously its obligations to the FISA Court and its compliance with procedures overseen by career professionals in the Department of Justice and the FBI. We are committed to working with the appropriate oversight entities to ensure the continuing integrity of the FISA process.
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. As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.
Left unsaid is who is the “We.” Specifically, who had the “grave concerns.” Who reviewed the Memo? By definition, the people with knowledge of the FISA court and compliance. Who happen to be the same people the House Intelligence Committee is investigating. (And the DOJ Inspector General, for that matter.)
Also, this was a press release. Not a letter to the White House. Not a letter to the House Intelligence Committee. This was intended to impact public perception, not to inform the proper parties of a legitimate concern. And as we learned today, the White House did agree to redactions at the FBI’s request.
(There’s also the issue of credibility. For one example, this is the same FBI that sought to find and punish the source who leaked details of Loretta Lynch’s supposed-to-be-secret tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton days before Hillary’s FBI interview and exoneration. Apparently the issue of an Attorney General meeting with the husband of an investigation target wasn’t so important.)
Yesterday’s Other News: Mueller and Flynn Agree to Delay Sentencing.
Meanwhile, a key argument we’re hearing from Democrats and the media is this whole Nunes Memo business is an attempt to distract from the Mueller investigation. Here’s why that is absurd.
First of all, why would House Republicans risk all to protect Donald Trump? Two years ago a vast majority wanted nothing to do with him.
But more importantly:
While the media was repeating the FBI’s statement over and over again like it was a new single from Taylor Swift, other news broke yesterday. Special Counsel Robert Mueller and lawyers for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn requested a delay on Flynn’s sentencing until May 1. Mueller and the lawyers told the court, “Due to the status of the Special Counsel’s investigation, the parties do not believe that this matter is ready to be scheduled for a sentencing hearing at this time.” An update on sentencing was supposed to happen today.
“It is not clear why Mueller and his team has requested a delay or why Flynn has agreed,” reports The Daily Caller News Foundation. What in the investigation is holding things up and why would Flynn go along? Let’s review the events.
A Timeline, and And What’s This Have to Do With the Memo?
On December 1, Flynn pled guilty to charges of lying to the FBI.
The very next day, the story broke about texts between FBI deputy counter-intelligence chief Peter Strzok and his FBI lawyer mistress Lisa Page, showing their venom towards Trump (and anyone connected to Trump). More importantly, it also talked of a “plan” discussed in McCabe’s office, and an “insurance policy” to stop Trump.
Strzok was one of two agents whose interview of Flynn led to the lying charge against him. Andrew McCabe, who set up the White House interview, gave no indication to Flynn the meeting was anything other than routine. McCabe sandbagged him, in other words.
McCabe and Strzok both were heavily involved in getting the FISA warrants that put Trump officials under surveillance.
One of the FISA judges, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras, happened to be the judge in the Flynn case.
On December 7, Judge Contreras was suddenly recused from the Flynn case. (“Has been recused” was the language the court used. Not “recused himself.”)
What changed between December 1 and December 7? The key witness against Flynn was compromised. The legitimacy of the FISA warrants was in play. Since the judge was involved with the granting of the FISA warrants, he now had a conflict of interest. Now, in dealing with Flynn, Mueller has to determine how Flynn got into his legal mess. Mueller has to investigate the Trump-Russia investigation. (Hence, the agreement between Mueller and Flynn’s lawyers.)
Remember, while the Memo itself is only a couple weeks old, the documentation — the evidence — has been having an effect at least since Strzok was booted from the Mueller team and transferred to HR of all places. It had its effect in the recusal of Judge Contreras.
In other words, the Nunes Memo isn’t an effort to block Mueller’s investigation. The Nunes Memo is in harmony with the Mueller investigation.
And at this hour we await its release.