Twilight of The Memo

The Memo wasn’t out for an entire 24 hours before Devin Nunes began backtrackng. He told a Fox News interviewer that no, he hadn’t seen the underlying evidence on which his memo was based (which we already knew, but which probably wasn’t clear to most folks).  All he knows about the underlying evidence he got from Trey Gowdy, he says.

You remember Gowdy, the guy who announced his retirement from the House right after he found out the memo probably was going to be released? Gowdy tweeted this yesterday after the big reveal:

Helen Nakashima reports for WaPo that intelligence officials say the FISA court was, in fact, informed that some of the intelligence on the warrant application was underwritten by political entities. Although the warrant didn’t specifically name the Democrats, I’m sure the court was smart enough to infer that it would have been someone opposed to Trump who paid for the intelligence.

Many have pointed out that warrants are granted based on dodgy sources all the time — criminals, mobsters, terrorists. Surely Democrats are not outside those bounds. The reason there are warrants is not to go directly to indictment but to check out the intelligence and find out if it is true. Duh.

I already noted yesterday that some guy at RedState found an error in the Nunes Memo that seriously damages its arguments. And although most Fox News bobbleheads are still hyping the memo, I understand Shepard Smith pretty much tore the thing apart on the air yesterday.

Safe, centrist USA Today headlined reactions to the memo release as a backfire on Trump and the GOP.

When the House Intelligence Committee finally did its dramatic reveal of the so-called Nunes memo, several things were immediately clear — and all were bad for committee chairman Devin Nunes and President Trump , the man his efforts were ultimately intended to benefit.   …

…Most of the allegations in the Nunes memo had already been aired, and others were quickly discredited as misleading or undercut by other information that was excluded from the memo. Indeed, to the extent the document contained any surprises, it was the degree to which it actually undermined the attacks that the president and his allies had been advancing.

There’s a longer analysis at the Lawfare blog that’s worth reading all the way through, but I want to just point out a couple of spots. Here’s one:

To the extent that the complaint is that Page’s civil liberties have been violated, the outraged are crying crocodile tears. For one thing, it is not at all clear that Page’s civil liberties were, in fact, violated by the surveillance; the memo does not even purport to argue that the Justice Department lacked probable cause to support its warrant application. It does not suggest that Page was not, after all, an agent of a foreign power. What’s more, the only clear violation of Page’s civil liberties apparent here lies in the disclosure of the memo itself, which named him formally as a surveillance target and announced to the world at large that probable cause had been found to support his surveillance no fewer than four times by the court. Violating Page’s civil liberties is a particularly strange way to complain about conduct that probably did not violate his civil liberties.

Also, too:

But this notion has at least three big problems. First, it’s not remotely clear that anything in the contemporary Mueller investigation is the fruit of surveillance of Carter Page. For all we know, the surveillance of Page produced material of counterintelligence value that is utterly extraneous to anything related to the Mueller investigation. What’s more, if the complaint is that the surveillance of Page somehow amounts to surveillance of the Trump campaign (as Donald Trump Jr. suggestedFriday), the dates don’t add up: The FISA court granted the initial warrant against Page in October 2016, almost a month after he left the Trump campaign at the end of September. Moreover, as Paul Rosenzweig notes in Politico, a FISA warrant granted only weeks before the election would not have been able to produce any evidence until well after votes had been cast.

The other two problems are that “there is no legal basis on which to assert that a defective warrant against one person systematically delegitimizes an entire investigation” and “the memo itself falsifies the premise that the probe was the illegitimate offspring of Christopher Steele.”

Well, so much for that.

11 thoughts on “Twilight of The Memo

  1. The memo was intended to give cover to Trump when he fires Rosenstein. Trump knows there's no a rig leaf of real cover there, but his base has seized on it as gospel . Republicans like Ryan and Gowdy have publicly said the memo does not impugn the Mueller investigation.

    The question is if Trump will go after Mueller directly or if he cans Eisenstein to hit Mueller indirectly. I don't think Trump will back off. He arranged for the memo for a reason .

  2. Doug,

    I don't think that great ol' Soviet film director, Sergei Eisenstein, would appreciate being associated with Dumb-'n-old tRUMP. 😉

    He wouldn't even have cast him in one of his brilliant films – actors have to follow direction. 

    And we know tRUMP doesn't take direction from anyone – ok, maybe that unibrowed stooge, Sean Hannity, and some of the other telegenic clueless bobo's on "FOE (sic) 'news'."  


  3.  ok, maybe that unibrowed stooge, Sean Hannity, 

    Ya mean the same Hannity who sports the barbershop quartet haircut?

  4. I'm so glad we have Donald Jr to clear it all up for us: The Memo is sweet revenge for himself and the family.

    Keep digging D Jr. Keep on with the honesty. Maybe Mueller needs to just depose him instead.

  5. Someone help me out here:

    Maybe with my recent physical problems, my once steel-trap like memory is starting to resemble a spaghetti-strainer, but wasn't it only a few weeks ago that Nunes, Gowdy, Ryan, and the rest of the confederacy of nit/dim/half/fuck-witted dunces took to the House podium, and pontificated about the life-or-death necessity of extending their beloved FISA?

    And now, because the stupidest wannabe Secret Agent Man ever, Carter Page, got caught in the national security apparatus in 2013 – even before Dear Leader tRUMP decided to ask  his control agent, Vlad Putin, if he wanted any more help in undermining America in exchange for another big break on the billions he owed to him and other Russky kleptocrats, by running for POTUS – long before he joined the tRUMP's campaign, and ended up being cited as some foreign policy expert,  these House sycophants have problems with the FISA process, and the FISC judges (80% of whom are Republicans, and approve over 99% of FISA requests )?

    And so, in their decidedly finite judgement, they decided to have the dimmest of their nit/dim/half/fuck-wits write the shortest HS term paper on the subject, expecting an A+!   And told the whole country that this, their A+ paper, would shake the nation to its core, that the country would hail them as patriotic conquering hero's, and make everyone realize that their Dear Leader was such a great and dear leader, that he should be made "Dear Leader for Life!"

    And then, instead of their expected and highly touted paper getting an A+ from the whole nation, they got an F- (with the only compliments on that waste of wood fiber coming from their Dear Leader, and his "FOE 'news'" toadies).

    You know what?

    Don't help me out.  Don't bother confusing me with this illogical BS.

    Help the nation.  ELECT DEMOCRATS! (We can work on fixing them later, as we go along).


    I have such a headache!

  6. Wonderful analysis again. I hope you don't mind if I link back to your blog in my own.  I feel it better to link than repeat what you have handled so well.  Thank you. (My blog is, in case you want to look it up.)

  7. Whenever I comment via my phone, the spellchecker overrules me even more aggressively than my wife. Rosenstein became Einstein. I was in New Orleans for the "Unrig" Summit. At the Saturday night event, hosted by Jennifer Lawrence, she handed me an award. (She's a beautiful person, inside and out, if my opinion of character counts.)

    If you go to the 2:03 mark, that's when I got my trophy, but there were a bunch of remarkable speakers and a lot of constructive discussions across a three-day event. I met Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii. Keep your eye on her – she's a rising star in the Democratic party.

    The speech I gave isn't the speech I wrote. While I was sitting in the auditorium I decided to deliver something more meaningful than the thank-you speech  I prepared for the one minute I was allowed. There were rough edges but it wasn't bad for an improvisation to the biggest audience I ever faced. 

  8. Trump calls Dems who didn't clap during State of the Union 'treasonous' and 'un-American'

    And people wonder if it's just playing politics when you call into question Trump's mental fitness for the office of the presidency? It's not a laughing matter…Trump is mentally deranged. And what's more frightening is that people are willing to be oblivious to that fact.

     Scripture says: "If the blind lead the blind, they both fall in a ditch".

     America.. look where you're going!

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