The Memo Games: Trump Tosses Nunes Rebuttal Back to Schiff, Dems to Take Another Shot

Democrats included material revealing sources and methods. "Clean it up and we'll release it," says the White House.

By Al Perrotta Published on February 13, 2018

You’ve got the Winter Games, and you’ve got the Washington Games.

During NBC’s broadcast of the opening of the PyeongChang Olympics, President Trump called the Democrats’ bluff. He announced he would not be approving — as is — Rep. Adam Schiff’s 10-page rebuttal to the so-called Nunes Memo. That House Intelligence Committee’s memo outlined some of how the FBI and DOJ misled the FISA court to obtain surveillance warrants against Trump adviser Carter Page.

The White House included a letter signed by FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein. The two insist that the Schiff rebuttal contains portions that would raise national security or law enforcement concerns if released.

President Trump explained his action in a Saturday morning tweet. 

White House legislative director Marc Short promised Democrats,Work with the FBI, clean it up, and we’ll release it.”

Devin Nunes himself claims he’s eager to make the rebuttal public. “We think it’s ridiculous on the face of it,” Nunes told Fox News. “We think it’s very political about how they attack myself, they attack Chairman Gowdy. They turn Carter Page into some super-secret Russian spy. They talk about how Christopher Steele is a really, really good source when we know that he lied to the FBI.”

Nunes had warned that Schiff would send his rebuttal in a form Trump couldn’t release. This gave Democrats the chance to shout all weekend about how Trump was playing favorites. After all, he released the Nunes Memo without redactions.

Democrats to Revise Rebuttal

Schiff pinky-swears that he didn’t write the rebuttal as intentionally unpublishable. He says the Democrats will take another stab at their memo. Schiff told CBS’s Face the Nation, “We’re going to sit down with the FBI and go through any concerns that they have, and any legitimate concerns over sources and methods, we will redact.”

Dem Rep. Eric Salwell was asked Monday by Tucker Carlson why Democrats didn’t simply run their rebuttal by the FBI first. He mumbled something about “rules” and quickly changed the subject.

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What’s Said to Be in the Rebuttal

The rebuttal will not actually refute what is in the Nunes memo. Instead, the Democrats will undercut the idea that the Steele dossier was instrumental in the granting of four FISA warrants. Those warrants allowed the Obama FBI to conduct surveillance on anyone who came into contact with Carter Page.

It’s fair play for the Democrats to reveal other evidence used against Steele to get the warrants. However, even that doesn’t help the Democrats. When it comes to FISA, one bad apple does spoil the whole bunch. Especially when you lie about it.

The other evidence doesn’t matter. Former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe made that clear: “No surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.” Steele brought the FBI to the dance.

The Schiff team will also try to dampen the damage done by other facts the FBI hid from the court. Such as the fact that the Steele dossier was paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. Or that the Obama DOJ knew of Christopher Steele’s personal desire to stop Trump.

When the Nunes Memo came out, Schiff and other Democrats insisted the court was informed of the political motivation behind the dossier. Hogwash, Republicans say. One footnote spoke in general terms that there “may be” political bias. There’s a huge difference between admitting that a source “may” have bias and informing the judge of a fact like: “This is Hillary Clinton’s doing.”

Reportedly, the wording in that footnote does more spinning and contorting than Chloe Kim in a half-pipe.

What You are Not Hearing

The Democrats and their media pawns have been shouting about the Nunes Memo and the Schiff rebuttal. But have you heard any rebuttal to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s criminal referral on Christopher Steele? (Otherwise called “The Grassley Letter,” after committee chair Chuck Grassley.)

The closest you get is Schiff saying that the referral was only done to divert attention from the failure of the Nunes Memo. Unfortunately for that bit of fiction, the referral was made weeks before Nunes’ Memo was released.)

The criminal referral not only supports Nunes’ allegations, it goes a step further. Yes, the FBI/DOJ used a dossier it knew was unverified and 100% politically motivated. However, they also repeatedly vouched for Christopher Steele’s credibility even after the FBI knew Steele had lied to them.

The referral also laid out how Russian agents had funneled dirt via Clinton henchman Sidney Blumenthal through the Obama State Department, to Steele.

The dossier was such a Hillary production, the DOJ lawyers might as well have been wearing pantsuits. And Obama people are involved.

Is this being rebutted? No. Is the media even covering the criminal referral? Nope.

Meanwhile, tucked away in the Grassley letter is a curious — even bizarre — email from former National Security Adviser Susan Rice. We’ll cover that in our next report.


Al Perrotta is the Managing Editor of The Stream, and co-author of the upcoming book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration.

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  • Chip Crawford

    We have a major news cable outlet covering and rebutting, which arose for the exact reason that the then existing media did not cover certain things. It quickly rose as the leader in viewership. There are a couple print media who tend to contribute to less “popular” stories.

  • Howard Rosenbaum

    I don’t think the democrats have any intention of releasing their masterwork of duplicity.
    They may be disingenuous in their pitches to the public . They may spin the facts more readily than spiderman spins his web leaping across rooftops to save a damsel in distress. They do what they do because they can.
    They can release a compromised retaliation memo w/out any intention of it being released.
    Thus their “retaliation” satisfies the appetite of their base. Just one more false claim about the man they love to hate.
    A question I’ve asked somewhat rhetorically is ” how do you trigger a liberal ? The answer is simple ; with the truth ..! Just another reason for not releasing their memo. They can’t find enough lies to promote w/their memo & we know they can’t afford to trigger their base …

  • Chip Crawford

    These reports read like rollouts from Fox News, which is good. Don’t understand why Fox and other quality news sources, albeit a much smaller number, are not credited for covering these stories, as they certainly are. If a Christian feeds on CNN and MSNBC, NYT, the networks as their source of news and ignores Fox, Wall Street Journal, for instance, then you really can’t speak to what is being reported out there – imho – and you are being poisoned. We have a choice; perhaps we will be held responsible for making it well?

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