Explaining the Nunes “Memo” in Terms We Can All Understand

BCK FILE--On Friday, Donald Trump declassified a memo authored by Devin Nunes (R-CA-22nd) aimed at destabilizing trust in the FBI. The memo cites the FISA warrant issued to pursue surveillance of Carter Page, who acted as a foreign policy advisor to Trump during the 2016 campaign, was an abuse of the FBI’s powers. 

The FBI had issued a warning on Wednesday of last week that the Nunes memo had left out important information. The President tweeted over the weekend that the Nunes memo “vindicates Trump” from a “Russian Witch Hunt.” Trump appears to believe that the Nunes memo would sway public opinion that the Russian investigations are prejudiced against him, presumably making it easier for him to pursue a Saturday Night Massacre, firing anyone in his path. 

Two Southern California representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA-28th), and Ted Lieu (D-CA-33rd).

in the House have been especially vocal about not only the Nunes attempt but Trump policy and in support of the Mueller investigation. In this column, we’ll take  a look at Nunes. In future columns, we’ll look at Reps. Schiff and Lieu. 

Devin Nunes, Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and a member of Trump’s transition team, has represented the 22nd district since 2003. The district includes San Joaquin Valley. Nunes has been criticized by Democrats for bias in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections and by last April, he had taken reprieve from his leadership role as the Office of Congressional Ethics looked into charges that he had inappropriately disclosed classified information to the public, allegations he has denied. 

Nunes has made it a practice to attack independent counsel Robert Mueller, as well as the FBI, in an attempt to derail investigations into collusion by the Trump campaign. 

The representative has backed legislation promoted by the Koch Bros. that makes it easier for corporate interests and foreign entities to contribute to non-profit organization without transparency and has characterized “global warming as nonsense,” denying any link with the state’s drought. 

Nunes has been an aggressive defender of Trump, denying any Russian interference in the election. In fact, back in February, he was the first leading House Republican to deny any evidence of contact between the Trump camp and Russian operatives, and characterized any investigation as a witch hunt. He also rejected requests that Trump show his tax returns. 

Nunes has been doing the President’s bidding for some time, talking to the Press and anyone else who will listen in his defense of the President and denial of Russian interference. He is considered by people such as former CIA director John Brennan and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to have abused his office to discredit an active investigation. 

Trump and those who do his bidding are focused on discrediting institutions we need to ensure democracy, such as the Press and FBI. His queries to assess the loyalty of former FBI director James Comey and later, acting FBI director Andrew McCabe chip away at the balance of powers. 

Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has said that the Nunes memo will have no impact on the Russia investigation,which can go on even without the Steele dossier Nunes questions. 

However, what’s crucial to remember is that Trump’s MO, pushed forward by his henchmen like Nunes, is to discredit anyone or any institution that stands to threaten his presidency. 

Thankfully, two California representatives, Reps. Schiff and Lieu,  are pushing back on the Nunes and Trump threat to democracy.

(Beth Cone Kramer is a professional writer living in the Los Angeles area. She covers Resistance Watch and other major issues for CityWatch.)

-cw