The long-awaited House Intelligence Committee memo has finally cratered its way to earth, nudged along by Trump’s decision Friday morning to okay its release, and can be summed up as follows:
1. Insofar as the FISA surveillance warrant issued by the FBI and DOJ for Trump “volunteer advisor” Carter Page was justified by the Steele dossier, it is fundamentally corrupt because Christopher Steele is himself fundamentally corrupt.
2. Steele’s corruption stems from a few factors. First, he was paid (indirectly, through Fusion GPS) by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to the tune of $160,000. Second, the FBI dumped him as a source in Oct. 2016 because he violated the no-media rules by speaking to Mother Jones, and should have been dumped a month earlier for speaking to Yahoo. Third, Steele kept in touch with DOJ contacts like Bruce Ohr, and expressed anti-Trump sentiments.
3. The FBI and DOJ were obliged to report all of this when they sought the FISA warrant on Oct. 21, 2016, but they didn’t. And last month, Andrew McCabe admitted in closed-door testimony to the intelligence committee that without the Steele dossier, there would have been no FISA application.
4. The FISA application is what started this whole mess, so the entire Russia investigation is compromised. QED, bitches. (PS, two horny FBI agents texted that they didn’t like Trump.)
Okay, so…this is a dud. And it’s also complete and utter bunk, because the foundational premise here, about Steele as the exclusionary impetus behind the FISA warrant, is undercut in the actual memo itself!!
We’ll get back to that. First off, the most important line in the memo isn’t anything that Devin Nunes wrote, but what the White House counsel wrote in its cover letter:
To be clear, the Memorandum reflects the judgements of its congressional authors.
Translation: If this isn’t received as the “biggest scandal since Watergate,” blame Congress, not the White House. If you’re distancing yourself from the contents of the memo before even releasing it, that’s a bad sign. And they knew it ahead of time!
They knew it was a dud! (rips hair out)
Secondly, it's nonsense because, again, it doesn't even confirm what conservative media is asserting: that the “partisan” Steele dossier was the basis of all FISA surveillance on Carter Page. Per the Devin Nunes portion of the memo (emphasis ours):
The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Peter Strzok.
Thirdly, it paints Carter Page—the dumbest man to ever receive a PhD—as a key part of the Trump campaign by placing the entire supposed offense of the FBI and DOJ on unlawfully surveilling him. This is what Trump said about Carter Page in March 2017:
”I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to him. I don’t think I ever met him. And he actually said that he was a very low-level member of I think a committee for a short period of time. I don’t think I ever met him. Now, it’s possible that I walked into a room and he was sitting there, but I don’t think I ever met him.”
Page was a minnow, and everybody knows it. For Nunes and Congressional Republicans to use some small technicality—and one that isn’t even true—in a bogus attempt to stop the Russia investigation in its tracks…well, it looks like nothing so much as rank desperation.