We’ve already detailed why the much-hyped Devin Nunes memo is bunk, and how it actually makes assertions that undercut its overall argument that the infamous Steele dossier (that isn’t a dossier) was the basis for the FISA warrant approved on Carter Page. However, there was one portion that if true, would back up its overall assertion that the Steele dossier was vitally important to the FISA warrant. We didn’t include it in our summary because there was absolutely no corroboration to this portion of the Nunes memo, and we had been warned all week that the entire memo was horribly misleading due to the omission of vital information. Per the Nunes memo:
Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.
Glenn Greenwald highlighted why that passage would be significant, if true.
However, the “if” statement depends on Congress’ least credible member having credibility. Given that the White House Counsel distanced themselves from this memo in their cover letter (saying the “Memorandum reflects the judgements of its congressional authors”), there was little reason to take any assertion at face value. Now, a new report from The Daily Beast throws water on that passage. Per Spencer Ackerman’s piece:
Asked if that was a true representation, a source familiar with McCabe’s testimony responded: “100% not.”
A senior Democratic House intelligence committee official agreed.
“The Majority purposefully mischaracterizes both what is actually contained in the FISA applications and the testimony of former FBI Deputy McCabe before our committee in December 2017 — the Minority’s memo lays out the full facts,” the official said.
This he-said, she-said back and forth doesn’t prove anything. The only way we will know is if the transcript of the testimony is released, but this new report confirms the common sense underlying this entire mess: nothing that Devin Nunes says can be trusted unless he provides evidence for it. Given that there is no other corroboration of McCabe’s testimony in this four-page memo, it seems obvious that this was one section that suffered from omitting necessary facts to provide proper context.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.