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.
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.
The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods (and more), would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2018
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.
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.