Update: February 3, 2018.
Please enjoy my post on the Nunes memo that follows. Know, as if you don’t already, that Republicans nearly to a man and a woman, view the Christopher Steele dossier commissioned originally by conservative media and then acquired by the Clinton campaign, is regarded as de facto “campaign material.” They have long abandoned any sound argument that the dossier prepared by former MI6 Russia expert Steele is based in sound intelligence gathering on Trump and the Russians and that much of the dossier has been found to be credible, that Steele became alarmed enough as he uncovered with the help of his sources deep inside Russia evidence of Russian intervention into the impending U.S. elections, including the Trump campaign’s greenlighting of Russia’s “help,” to put the dossier into the hands of John McCain. They also fail to disclose in their memo that Steele assisted the FBI in understanding deepening Trump dealings with Russia. Instead, they have done nearly everything they can to confuse and obfuscate the value of Steele’s work to the FBI and to the FISA Court. Trump today tweeted that the memo “completely vindicates” him, as he too takes it on faith, to put it politely, that the dossier was cooked up by the Clintons. The credibility gap between how Trump and the Freedom Caucus in the House led by Devin Nunes dismiss facts vs. the facts of the dossier itself and of Steele the man, is as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon. Please read on.
The sad truth of the hoped for impact of intellectually challenged Devin Nunes’ memo is that those who believe in the notion of a deep state, they who see a conspiracy to unhorse Trump under every rock, will believe it—and not because it is true, but because they are the followers and half-lucid drones of our society, the people who are limited in their ability to grasp the meaning of the most plainly declarative sentence and whose biases eclipse reason..
Such a one is our president, who daily reveals his own lack of an intellect able to discern fact from fiction, who dangerously, is a legend in his own mind, a narcissist with the ambitions of a dictator.
His latest effort to derail the Mueller investigation by means of the aid of the backward and tunnel-visioned minions of his sphere has collapsed for the want of logic and proof– for the simple and unadorned reason that smart people have seen through it, ferreted out its inconsistencies, its logical fallacies, i.e. post hoc ergo propter hoc—he remains a bull in a china shop with flaccid gonads and a pea-sized brain, but especially a subject for another post, a pawn of Vladimir Putin); Trump the man is a skewed half-lobotomized Lear who sees the juggernaut of his perverse will bearing down on him without the ability to comprehend that it is he who has set the stage for the moment in which alone on the crumbling parapet, every ounce of credibility with anyone gone, he will hold his own skull in his hand, fallen dunce, king of fools.
To have this joker king in the White House has deeply pained those of us who watched a vibrant, articulate and brilliant woman ascend as our queen only to have her knee-capped by a challenged FBI director pressured by fringe rogue agents. The only remedy has been to hold our heads high and live against the daily Vaudeville of the Trump presidency, to fight the undertow in the psyche of his presence. It is as if he is the very air that hangs over cesspools, rancid, stagnant, intolerable, a stench, a ghastly presence, virally toxic in that the most promising of young members of Congress have been eclipsed by the listing white whale of the Good Ship Trump, who inexplicably lumbers and blunders ever downward in a shuffle toward the first circle of hell, all but shitting on the oriental rugs in the White House, so out of place and unfit to be President is he.
The first thing to know and that is made obvious by Nunes’ own statements, is that this memo is opinion; there is no fact in it. This is because Nunes and company have stated that they did not bother to read the full text of the FISA application in question. Their perceptions are fueled by an obsession with the Steele dossier as a political document of the Clintons. They have focused only on smearing the Steele dossier in the colossal assumption that the warrant application’s only underpinnings are that ever more credible document. Had they read it in toto or the FISA filings with any degree of comprehension (see below, they would have seen that their own assertions are stupidly superficial, inaccurate and all too clearly motivated by grandstanding, adulation, the desire to be the heroes of the hour.)
The House Intel Committee’s Aha moment is–alas–a fart in the wind.
Better thinkers and reporters than I are effectively debunking the memo as I write this. But to me, it is important for any and all of us to cry foul on this latest stunt of the Trump Administration.
How do we love them, and how do we count the lies.
The memo’s thesis that the summary of the latest FISA warrant application for ongoing surveillance of Carter Page is based in a faux dossier somehow the product of the Clinton campaign rests in omissions of fact which in turn cast a shroud over the FBI. In four scant pages, by asserting that the Steele dossier was the basis for the warrant and that therefore campaign material was improperly used as a basis for said warrant going to bias on the part of the FBI and the Court itself, Nunes appears to believe that he has indicted the entire probe into Russian collusion w/ Trump. Yet he doesn’t show us how this is the case; he merely lists opinions as facts. Moreover, he states that he didn’t read the 70 or so page FISA application–that he left it to Troy Gouty to review a warrant which would not have been submitted or granted if surveilling Page had not been productive.
Like boys skipping school Nunes and Gouty scatter lies hither and yon, revealing themselves not as circumspect, mature overseers of the intelligence community, but entirely protective of a criminal president looking for any way out of the prosecution looming at him in his self-created nightmares.
To create credibility, of course it is necessary to exclude everything that would not support the conspiracy theory held by Donald Trump, aided and abetted by rabidly far right Sean Hannity on Fox News, babbling about things like “”the deep state,”cooked up to obfuscate read obstruct the legitimate investigation.
Facts are good things; they like to be found and broadcast and blogged. We do not have the full text of the argument for the warrant. Instead, we have the conclusions and often brilliant deductions of the free press, the one enshrined under the First Amendment that we can safely refer to as facts. The following would be sourced had I world enough and time but they are findings by means of which to examine the staggering fallacies reducing the dossier to a “campaign document” and using it to discredit the Mueller investigation and clear Trump.
-The trigger for the Russian investigation was not the Steele dossier and Carter Page had been under surveillance as member of a Russian spy ring for some time, predating the Trump campaign..
-Well before Christopher Steele became a household name, the mention of the Trump tower mtng with Russians was made by George Papadopoulos in a drunken exchange with an Australian ambassador which triggered the ambassador’s contact of the FBI, in turn triggering the fledgling investigation. All of this predates the dossier.
The central premise of the Nunes memo has been that the warrant was based on the “politically motivated” Steele dossier, withholding that information from the Court.
But today the Washington Post reports “One official with knowledge of the matter told The Post that the DOJ made “ample disclosure of relevant, material facts” to the FISC which revealed “the research was being paid for by a political entity.”a. There is no question that if the FISA judge had wanted more info, he would have said so. Moreover, the Nunes memo doesn’t mention other things in the complete application, i.e., Page’s numerous contacts with Russians.
Finally, while the memo claims that Steele had long been on the FBI payroll, David Corn of Mother Jones points out that Steele lent his expertise to the FBI as the investigation heated up, in order to understand the chronology of events or some other aspect, and as he speculated over time that things were afoot in the FBI itself, he made an exit.
How we got here – More Facts, likely involving Carter Page
Per Papadapolous, now known for months by the FBI, the meeting in Trump Tower June 2016 was to hear a Putin agent’s proposal of assistance w/ undermining Clinton with “dirt,” in exchange for lifting sanctions. Ecco c\e: quid pro quo.
Later we read accounts of the President attempting to walk back his son’s fantastical explanation for the meeting; he drafted changes in front of press on A-1. Here we have early obstruction of justice.
Trump has been incessantly ranting “no collusion. No collusion” . But this has not been proven and nothing in the memo fatally wounds the inquiry.
Recently it was reported by the NYT that there was a three way convo on Air Force I between Trump, and Hope Hicks and former spokesman Mark Corollo about cleaning up Don Jr’s testimony on the Hill in which Trump jr lied to the House intel committee. This is consciousness of guilt on the part of the president, further obstruction and it has handed the investigation a juicy plum.
It is fact that Trump has fired everyone tangential to the investigation, first seeking to discredit and discount them and then to boot them out the door.
As noted, he fired Sally Yates, acting AG, after she came to the WH to warn him that Flynn appeared to be compromised by the Russians and or the Turks.
He fired Mike Flynn for allegedly lying to Pence, but really to cut his losses, claiming later that he had known Flynn had lied to FBI.
He fired James Comey, stating to Putin henchman Lavrov that he had been “bothered” by the Russia investigation—then in its infancy under Comey. and after pressing Comey for loyalty.
He also told Lester Holt on camera that he viewed the “Trump and Russia thing a made up story” as the basis for Comey’s firing.
He pressured Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe into resigning early after a distinguished career.
Comey took contemporaneous notes and had them taken to the NYT. As Sessions had recused himself, AG Rosenstein smelled obstruction and appointed special counsel Robert Mueller, at the time with bipartisan support.
For Trump’s aggressive campaign to eliminate his enemies, this was a disaster; he is reported to have been furious.
Let us remember again, that there was bipartisan support for a special counsel investigation after Yates & Comey were fired and after the NYT reported Trump’s efforts to undermine prosecution of Flynn and his immensely discomfiting demand for “loyalty”.
We also know from a variety of sources that numerous figures later given cabinet positions by Trump had contact with Russians during the campaign.
Flynn was overheard reassuring the Russian ambassador that after the election sanctions would be taken care of. This is the quid pro quo that also dovetails with the dossier.
It came out that Kushner suggested a back channel be established out of the Kislyak mansion—to Russia.
Page and others made numerous trips to Russia and to Wikileaks.
Trump has spoken to Putin on numerous occasions and is the only world leader he hasn’t debased. Recently he invited Russian ambassadors to the White House.
Per Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS’s riveting testimony and as born out in the dossier, Ttrump’s associations with Russian oligarchs and Mafiosi is long standing. Recall Don Jr’s revelation that their money came from Russia; it has also been reported that Trump was bankrupt at the time he began deal-making with Russians i.e. likely helping oligarchs launder money through real estate deals, profiting from same.
It is also true that as Fusion looked more deeply into Trump’s dealings w Russia they became alarmed. This is the context for any mention Steele is alleged to have made as quoted in the memo, of wanting to curtail Trump’s run for presidency.
So it is that a picture of Trump’s dealings including mob ties and money laundering emerged from Fusion GPS’s research that was commissioned originally by the Washington conservative media and later picked up by the Clintons.
Flynn and Gates have been flipped, and Manafort and Page indicted. This ramped up transparent and pathetic rhetoric from Trump on Twitter who has been behaving around all of this as one who is guilty.
It is worth noting that the FBI exists to ensnare those who would do us harm, including happy go lucky wack jobs like Carter Page.
Into all of this, comes the Nunes Memo as diversion of the 1st order, seeking to “prove” that incorrectly supporting the FISA application for surveillance of Page–renewed numerous times, suggestive of it yielding good intelligence, is intended to be proof positive that the the Mueller investigation has been a Clinton-funded farce designed to bring down Trump.
In sum this farce of a memorandum gets everything wrong and everything that has been done to quash the Democratic intel oversight response will shake out to also indicate obstruction of justice and consciousness of guilt. One pundit tonight suggested that Mueller should indict Trump for criminal obstruction of justice now, to work its way up to the Supreme Court and to settle the question of whether a sitting president can or should be indicted..
From Paul Ryan to Jim Jordan, Republicans in Congress have revealed themselves to be among the most unpatriotic, shallow, dim people to ever call themselves representatives of the people. It is pathetic and distressing, especially for rank and file FB I agents who never dreamed that they would be excoriated and shamed by a sitting president.
It is intriguing that Trey Gouty announced yesterday that he will not seek a 2nd Term. O Lord, let it be shame, some small sign that all of these criminals, the greatest of whom is President Shit for Brains, feel the burn and cool their jets in the rank manholes of Washington, where they belong with the other born and bred sewer rats.