There’s been a lot of chatter this week about the memo penned by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and on Wednesday, the FBI issued a remarkable statement. The already-unprecedented firestorm surrounding the memo doesn’t stop there, as today, Rep. Adam Schiff claimed Nunes “made material changes” to the memo he sent to President Trump.
On Wednesday, the FBI’s statement pushed back on the release of a partisan congressional memo alleging the Bureau used improper evidence to obtain legal permission to surveil a Trump campaign adviser. “[T]he FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it,” the Bureau said. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
The memo has created a huge controversy, despite it not being released yet. Nunes fired back at the FBI hours later, claiming, “It’s clear that top officials used unverified information in a court document to fuel a counterintelligence investigation during an American political campaign.”
Democrats on the committee were unanimously against its release, asserting that its claims of wrongdoing are unfounded and its release endangers our national security. In fact, Trump’s own Justice Department objected to its release as “extraordinarily reckless.”
This memo is the latest effort to discredit the ongoing Russia investigation and it signals the GOP’s unusually unfazed attitude towards the Russian threat to Western democracies. Press reports suggested that President Trump may have contemplated using the memo to dismiss Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is supervising the Russia probe for the Justice Department.
In a strange turn of events, House Intelligence Committee ranking member Schiff accused chairman Nunes of sending a different version of the memo alleging FBI surveillance abuses to the White House than what the committee approved.
Many are already speculating that Trump ordered Nunes to these changes to the memo and if this turns out to be the case, it could put both Nunes’ and Trump’s jobs in jeopardy. As the drama over this memo heightens, it will be interesting to see how and if GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan will step in or comment on this matter.
If all this recent news wasn’t enough to depict the current dumpster fire of American politics, it was reported yesterday that the president sought details about the Russia investigation from Rosenstein, then asked him, “Are you on my team?” Trump’s alleged comment is oddly similar to his demand for loyalty from Comey that prompted the obstruction of justice investigation.