To give you an idea of how time flies in these days of the Trump administration, or at least how national emergencies and scandals dot the calendar like phases of the moon, it was less than two weeks ago that Trump ordered the Devin Nunes memo released. I realize it seems impossible, it seemed like the most important story to Western Civilization to that point. Now, it seems as distant in history as Malta. Regardless, two weeks ago Nunes’ released a document manipulated to induce the precise conclusions most wanted throughout the crowd most willing to suspend belief in order to believe it. Nunes did this despite the fact that he had participated in the transition team such that he could hardly be considered an independent investigator, and then shot any remaining credibility he might have had by pulling a stunt discovering fake evidence, getting caught at it, and then recusing himself from the investigation, sort of, because somehow he ended-up un-recused.
Against Nunes’ blatant and cynical introduction of direct propaganda, the Democrats Adam Schiff released the response memo today (here).
President Trump blocked the memo’s outright release two weeks ago, with the White House counsel warning that the document “contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages.” Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee had since been haggling with the F.B.I. over redactions.
Democrats have insisted that Mr. Trump’s deference to national security concerns in the case was hypocritical and politically motivated. Just a week before blocking their memo’s release, the president had ignored similar objections from the Justice Department and the F.B.I. to declassify the contents of a rival Republican memo, which was based on the same underlying documents. Mr. Trump asserted, incorrectly, that the Republican document vindicated him in the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference.
In the short time I’ve had to review the memo, I see nothing ground-breaking or even controversial in it, though of course much is redacted.
However, that almost seems to be the point. There IS no scandal with respect to how the FBI looked into Carter Page and the Trump campaign. What happened is by no means scandalous. The fact remains, if you run for president in a major party, and if your campaign hires or utilizes a shockingly disproportionate large number of people tied-in to the Russian government, while at the same time intelligence from around the world pours into the FBI that the Russians are attempting to infiltrate your campaign, then the fact remains that your campaign likely will be monitored, as it should damn well be in a cautious and prudent society. The Republicans do not like the fact that the FBI monitored the Trump campaign because scandals only happen to Democrats and cheating is something Republicans are allowed to do so long as they cheat to further Republican policy or money. Actually, the reason that Republicans are so outraged about the FISA warrants allowing the FBI to spy on the campaign is that the Republicans hold out Democrats as the ultimate enemy, far more so than Russia, and any activity designed to “beat the Democrats” is by definition “good.” Thus the Trump-Republican brain cannot understand how the FBI might be “against them” and can only explain it by calling the FBI “democrats,” which immediately puts things in perspective because, again, Democrats are the enemy. The only outrage the conservatives found is the increasing likelihood of being caught and made to be in the wrong.
So, it should surprise no one that there is not much ground-breaking to this memo. Schiff will let the ground-breaking stuff play out through the Mueller investigation, which is more and more coming into focus and picking-up steam. The fact that the Schiff Memo breaks no new ground demonstrates that the Nunes memo could never “break ground,” either, and it was all propaganda.