The FISA Abuse Memo has finally arrived, and it was nothing.  There was nothing interesting in it.  Nothing happened and it’s not even worth bothering to read.  Don’t even try.  You’ll fall asleep.  It’s boring and meaningless and just distracting from Trump’s Russia collusion or obstruction or money laundering or whatever the hell Mueller’s supposed to be investigating this week.

Also, as the Democrats predicted this week, all life on Earth has ended because of this memo’s release.  Those of us who didn’t die when Net Neutrality was ended or the Tax Reform passed are surely dead now.  The memo has destroyed the FBI, revealed all of our top secret methods for gathering intelligence, published the home addresses of all DOJ employees, and elected Putin Emperor of Earth.  It’s so dangerous, it should be illegal to read it.

You might ask, “How can both of those paragraphs possibly be true, Thrill, you asshole?”  Beats me.  But that’s pretty much what the Democrats, the media, and other Deep State apologists are saying.  James Comey managed to squeeze those conflicting sentiments into a single tweet.

Somehow, it’s both untrue and it revealed damaging secrets that are apparently true?  I stand by what I said before.  Trump screwed up in the way he fired Comey, but his worst mistake was not firing him much, much earlier.

What do I think?  I’m glad you asked.   The memo was better than I expected, though my expectations were admittedly low.  The memo is direct, concise, easily digestible, and completely unredacted.   You’ve had all day to either read the thing or have heard it explained by your favorite pundits so there’s only so much I can say, but I’ll do my best.

First, this memo is only a “nothingburger” if you really thought it was going to be the smoking gun that resulted in Rosenstein and Mueller being immediately fired, Hillary being arrested, and the Satanic perpetrators of P_zzag_te being rounded up and burned alive on stakes in Lafayette Park under Trump’s stern gaze.  Some Congressional Republicans are to be blamed for overselling the “Mueller will have to end his investigation!” angle, lots of people on the Right made this out to involve more than FISA abuse, and the Democrats (bafflingly) decided to throw a royal shit-fit over it for days and exaggerate what would happen if the memo was released; thus bringing the full attention of the American public on it so much that the press couldn’t ignore it if they wanted to.

I think this was nuts because having done that, it is making it more difficult for them to convince everyone that it’s a “nothingburger” now.  But they don’t have any possible, coherent response to this, I suppose, so….why not go mad?

Next, the memo does not endanger national security at all nor did it reveal anything that could potentially damage current or future investigations.  It’s bullshit, anyone who says otherwise is lying, and the Democrats are again making it worse for themselves by screeching about it since it’s easily debunked.  I’ll gleefully pounce on anyone in the comments who wants to argue otherwise and doesn’t have anything from the memo with which to back it up.

What the memo boils down to is this, at the most basic and stripped-down: the Department of Justice and the FBI sought a FISA warrant (and multiple extensions of it) against an American citizen and obtained it by presenting information that was highly suspect and they knowingly withheld information from the court that they knew would weaken the justification for a warrant.  That’s the barebones, totally non-politicized summary of this very short memo, okay?

The officials who filed the FISA application and its extensions pushed for the most intricate surveillance that the United States government can bring against an American citizen and they chose not to tell the court some facts they knew full well that they were supposed to.

  1. They should have told the court that the information that they were using as the backbone of their reasonable cause had been gathered by a private contractor and paid for by a group that had a direct interest in harming the American citizen and the organization he had been working for.  They did not.
  2. They used a news report about the allegations against the American citizen as evidence to support the FISA application when they knew that the contractor mentioned above was the source for the story.  The contractor had already violated rules about confidentiality and should have been considered unreliable long before the warrant was approved and they subsequently did end up breaking off with him for that reason.  They should have informed the court about this.  They didn’t.
  3. The FBI knew that the contractor who had gathered the information–without which it would not have tried to obtain the FISA warrant–had expressed a personal motive for working against the American citizen who was targeted and it went right to the heart of his objectivity as a source.  The officials named in the memo knew full well that they should have told this to the court.  Didn’t.
  4. A senior DOJ official’s wife was working for the contractor who was gathering the information that was used to obtain the FISA warrant against the targeted American citizen.  She gave what she found to her husband and it was passed on to the FBI.  This should have been mentioned in the FISA application.  It was…..not.

I think it’s important to first understand that Congress has identified multiple ways in which an American citizen’s Constitutional rights were horribly violated before we get into any of the political ramifications.  Maybe you don’t think what they are said to have done is that bad, I don’t know.  All I can tell you is that judges and juries take this sort of misbehavior on the part of prosecutors and law enforcement agencies really, really seriously.

They are required by law to provide information they have which might help prove an accused person’s innocence to courts.  You remember Cliven Bundy?  The rancher who virtually tried to start an insurrection against the federal government a couple of years ago?  He is a free man because the FBI knew that information it had in its possession would strengthen Bundy’s defense and they chose not to share it with the court.  Anybody who watched the Bundy Ranch Showdown knows the guy did what the government alleged, but it didn’t matter because the government’s boner for violating his civil rights led the judge to dismiss the charges.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work.

In Bundy’s case, the information the FBI sat on wasn’t highly classified nor were the surveillance methods used.  In a FISA court, there has to be a lot of trust in the officials and they must have absolute credibility that they are providing the whole truth because the materials and methods are so sensitive.  It looks like the FBI and DOJ may have tried to do in this case what they did to Bundy, whatever the motivation, and they didn’t think it would come to light for one reason or another.

Now, you can certainly say, “Yeah, Thrill, but some of those allegations that are in the memo are disputed.  We don’t have all of the facts.”  Well, you’re right.  We need more information and this memo has actually already accomplished its purpose by opening the door leading to Congress doing exactly that.

The allegations made by Nunes and the gang should be further investigated and they already are.  There’s been a criminal referral for Steele’s role in this from the Senate Intelligence Committee.  The targeted American citizen, Carter Page, is suing the government for violating his rights and he’ll have the benefit of discovery (for all of its surveillance, the FBI never could bring a charge against him for anything other than wearing stupid hats).  There are several other investigative reports you can expect out of both houses of Congress over the DOJ, State Department, intelligence agencies, and other facets of this whole affair.  Anyone who is trying to downplay the memo’s signficance is a goddamn fool or is lying to you.  It’s the first shot-fired, it’s just not a head-shot.

Most importantly, the Office of the Inspector General report on the DOJ is coming very soon and it is probably going to provide a lot more support for the claims made in this memo.  I believe that it will result in another special prosecutor being turned loose on both current and former employees of the DOJ and FBI and I hope they all suffer if it’s proven true that they really spied on an American citizen under false pretenses for any reason, let alone attempting to undermine a presidential election.

I’ve tried to sanitize my above analysis of politics because we should all be able to agree that if the FBI and DOJ were deliberately violating anyone’s civil rights–whether it’s Carter Page or Cliven Bundy or anybody else–it’s appropriate that the public be informed about the circumstances by Congress through official channels.  It’s necessary.  Anyone who says differently is being a destructive, partisan asshat.  There’s no other reason for it.  Allowing this sort of misconduct to occur and turning a blind eye to it because it hurts a president you don’t like is what will undermine faith in the DOJ and FBI, not exposing real misconduct and trying to prevent it from happening again, ffs.

For all that, I can’t pretend that the memo isn’t fully seeped in politics.  It is.  The memo alleges that US government officials and a contractor they were using as a source were trying to influence the outcome and aftermath of the 2016 election.  One of those named officials in the memo who submitted at least one of those applications in which exculpatory information was allegedly deliberately withheld did so after the election and he’s currently the Deputy Attorney General: Rod Rosenstein.  Rosenstein is also the one who appointed Mueller as Special Counsel, as you know.

There’s a fear that Trump can now use the memo’s allegations (even though it’s a total nothingburger, dudes) to have Rosenstein fired and with him, Mueller.  Well, I don’t know if Rosenstein is on his way out over this.  I’ll say he doesn’t look good and he probably should take some time this weekend and update his resume, just in case.  I personally would need to see more evidence that Rosenstein specifically engaged in any misconduct before I’d support Trump firing him.  There’s not enough in the memo to make that case.  I’m not saying it’s not out there and might not still come to light, it just isn’t in this memo.

What if Rosenstein does get fired?  It doesn’t mean that Mueller’s investigation would be terminated.  Sessions can’t fire him since he’s recused and Rosenstein’s next in line would destroy her career if she did it (I think it’s Rachel Brand, but I’m not for sure).

Truthfully, I don’t think getting rid of Mueller would be in Trump’s best interest.  He’d be better off getting a new Deputy AG who would limit Mueller’s investigation only to Russian interference instead of Manafort’s money laundering, obstruction, and whatever else he’s doing.

Trump would be best off simply letting Mueller finish his investigation since he’s either not going to recommend impeachment or charges for anyone who Trump won’t want to pardon or he will recommend that and Congress will refuse to act because of its opinion about the false pretenses that the entire Trump-Russia collusion investigation was built upon.  Getting rid of Mueller or hobbling him would hurt Trump in the long run.  I think letting the facts emerge which discredit the investigation while not otherwise impeding it is the best option and that seems to be what Trump and the GOP Congress are doing.

Before you claim that this is all nefarious, I’ll just make a few points.  The Republicans didn’t tell the Clinton campaign to hire Fusion GPS.  Devin Nunes didn’t tell the DOJ or the FBI to use the unverified Steele dossier as a source for a FISA warrant against Page or even to fire Steele when he violated confidentiality rules and proved to be an unreliable asset.  Trump didn’t tell Mueller to staff his investigative team with Democratic donors or the deeply-flawed Special Agent Strzok.  It wasn’t Jeff Sessions’s idea to have Mueller go after Manafort and who’s-it for charges unrelated to investigating Russian interference in the election.  It’s these facts which could discredit the investigation, not Republicans.  All Trump and Congress need to do is put them out there and we’ll see if they hold up under scrutiny.

So for all that, I say that releasing the memo was a good thing and the document itself should be taken seriously.  Congress certainly has more substantial evidence and I hope that they release all of it, whether it’s good or bad for Republicans.  Officials politicizing intelligence and law enforcement is what I (and millions of other Republicans) believe got the country into this crisis of public confidence and only full, fair disclosure will get us out and lead to restoring trust in those agencies.

But hey, maybe I’m wrong and the FBI and DOJ did absolutely nothing wrong and the evidence that emerges will prove it.  If so, I’ll happily criticize Nunes and the gang for helping make me look like an idiot today (not that I need the help).

I want the truth, not validation.  You should want the same for the sake of our rights, institutions, and our country.

42 comments

  1. Republicans certainly had no problems with politicizing intelligence to justify invading Iraq. How quickly it all changes.

  2. Republicans certainly had no problems with politicizing intelligence to justify invading Iraq.

    Republicans and Democrats in Congress examined the same intelligence and both parties voted to go to war based on it. These days, only one party exercises any oversight of the intelligence apparatus and that’s Republicans. The other party did all it could this week to thwart that oversight because it would be politically harmful to the narrative they’ve been building for the past year and a half.

    How quickly it all changes.

    Indeed. I miss the Democrats being leery of the Military Industrial Complex and wanting to restrain it rather than use it to attack their political enemies. They were better people then.

  3. Overall I agree that if there’s any implication that wrongdoing has been committed then it should be investigated. But to explain the non-Trump side of the argument. Let me just crack open my talking points email from Rachel Maddow herself.

    Firstly, it needs to be made clear that the Steele Dossier was used as part of the evidence for the warrant. It’s likely that the ‘Democrats Memo’ gives a fuller picture of what other evidence was in there (from the hints they’ve been giving).

    Also, that warrant was extended several times, even as the veracity and source of the dossier was being discussed in the press. So that means whatever shakes out from this, it’s on the record that on multiple occasions a Judge found there was probable cause to surveil Page in the investigation into Trump Russia (which had been going on for a while).

    So you say that the allegations should be investigated. And I agree. I imagine that Nunes is spending all his time and energy going through the proper channels to investigate whether this is in fact true or not. And the release of this memo to the public without verification, or any chance for rebuttal is just getting in the way of Nunes trying to do what’s best for the republic /sarcasm.

    But seriously – that’s why it’s worrying. Not for what it says (I think it’s a nothing burger, but also advocate for further investigation) – but for its signalling of what the Trump administration wants to do. Which is discredit and remove any person or institution that is intended to act as a check or balance.

    (It’s actually (stable) genius…. how do you deal with the fact that 60% of the country dislikes you? Claim that any criticism is borne out of bias, and is therefore invalid. If he can get to 1% approval rating he’ll be untouchable.)

    As for the National Security stuff – well now all foreign intelligence services know that anything they said to Carter Page after October 21st 2016 was listened to, and anything before that wasn’t – so that might be handy? I do think the Democrats went overboard on this point, but it is really weird to even reveal some classified information just to make public an allegation.

    My guess is that the calculation the GOP have made here is that we’ll never see the Democrats memo, or an FBI rebuttal, because they’d reveal too much classified information. Then you can put an allegation out there without ever having it disproved.That’d be the smart move.

  4. Firstly, it needs to be made clear that the Steele Dossier was used as part of the evidence for the warrant.

    The memo states that McCabe affirmed in December that without the dossier, there would have been no FISA application on Page. Democrats are disputing this, but Republicans are saying that it was recorded when he said it. It’s one of those bits of supporting evidence that needs to come out if the memo is to stand up.

    it’s on the record that on multiple occasions a Judge found there was probable cause to surveil Page in the investigation into Trump Russia (which had been going on for a while).

    But the judge might not have granted the warrant had the the excuplatory evidence been included, as it should have been. That’s the central thrust of the memo, really. DOJ and the FBI didn’t information that they knew would weaken the application, even though they were required to and violating Page’s civil rights by not doing it.

    Which is discredit and remove any person or institution that is intended to act as a check or balance.

    Well, the FBI and other public agencies aren’t supposed to be a check or balance to the president. The FBI should have a higher level of autonomy, but their purpose isn’t to control the president.

    Congress and the courts are the check and balance on Trump. With Congress, he plays well enough but that might only be because his party controls it, for now. The federal courts? Yeah, Trump does actively discredit them with his criticisms, but it’s a two way street when you have judges striking down directives that the president has the constitutional authority to make only because it’s Trump.

    Still, I won’t say that you shouldn’t be paranoid to a healthy degree.

    My guess is that the calculation the GOP have made here is that we’ll never see the Democrats memo, or an FBI rebuttal, because they’d reveal too much classified information.

    Yes, the GOP cannot be seen as selectively releasing information that only serves their purposes. As I said, this memo opens the door. If the GOP isn’t going to allow anything other than its own version of the truth to be public, then the stated noble reason for releasing the memo is moot.

  5. It’s one of those bits of supporting evidence that needs to come out if the memo is to stand up.

    Yep. But it is the first official confirmation that when the FBI did surveil Page, they found something. 4 times. But agreed that if the FBI lied by omission then they should face the consequences.

    Well, the FBI and other public agencies aren’t supposed to be a check or balance to the president. The FBI should have a higher level of autonomy, but their purpose isn’t to control the president.

    Nope, they’re meant to enforce federal laws. The president shouldn’t be above those laws. Just as the EPA shouldn’t let the President poison Lake Michigan. If he wants to poison Lake Michigan, he shouldn’t be able to politically manipulate the situation so he can, without repercussions.

  6. Yep. But it is the first official confirmation that when the FBI did surveil Page, they found something. 4 times.

    And yet Page is an free man, not even under indictment as far as we know, after all this time and after he was subjected to several months of intense surveillance. Why was there enough evidence to justify the most stringent surveillance warrant the US Government can bring, but not enough to get Carter Page charged with anything so much as jaywalking?

    The judge who granted the application was given “something”. It was evidence from a dossier that absolutely should not have been presented as evidence. The FBI and DOJ abused the trust the judge had in them by providing a product that they knew was flawed and they chose not to share why it was.

    That’s seriously what the memo is all about. They abused the process and it’s obvious why.

  7. What a farce
    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/the-nunes-memos-big-lies

    That entire link amounts to “Never mind what these identified elected officials who put their names behind an official document that summarizes information which is under their purview, here are some anonymous sources who say it’s wrong!”

    Then there’s this crap:

    This revelation isn’t entirely surprising since Nunes admitted yesterday that he didn’t read the underlying warrant application before preparing the memorandum with the assistance of Intelligence Committee staff. Instead, he relied upon the notes taken by South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy, who is apparently the only member of the Committee who did read the application.

    The agreement between Congress and the FBI was that only one congressman would be allowed to review the FISA application because of its sensitivity. Nunes picked Gowdy because he’s an experienced lawyer who would know what to look for.

    What’s asinine about this is that Nunes had reviewed the FISA application himself instead of picking Gowdy, progressives would be complaining that Nunes was the only one who read it and he isn’t qualified since he’s not a lawyer.

    Gowdy, of course, spent the better part of yesterday distancing himself from the conclusions in the memo and stating publicly that it doesn’t undermine the Mueller investigation in any way.

    Gowdy has not distanced himself from the memo or called any of its findings into question. He simply said that nothing in it should be interpreted to mean that nothing in it invalidates the Mueller investigation, which is true. Mueller had nothing to do with the Carter Page FISA application process. This is amazingly dishonest.

    Let’s put it in perspective…

    Progressive: “Oh, Nunes didn’t read the FISA application!”

    Sane Person: “Well, yeah. Only one person was allowed to read it so Nunes decided to have the head of the Judiciary Committee review it and report the findings. You can’t blame Nunes for not reading the application when he wasn’t even allowed to read it since Gowdy was designated to do it.”

    Progressive: “B-b-b-but Gowdy says the memo doesn’t undermine the Mueller investigation! The memo is an epic fail, you Rethuglican.”

    Sane Person: “Nothing in the memo indicates that this is what it was supposed to do. Instead, it provides evidence that the FBI and DOJ opened up surveillance against an American citizen in a secret court by presenting false and incomplete information and violating his civil rights for political reasons. The memo raises this as a concern that the FISA process is ripe for abuse by officials and that American citizens are not adequately protected. Did you even read the memo? It has been publicly available for two days now.”

    Progressive: “Uhhh, no, I didn’t read it. Why would I need to? I get awesome anonymously sourced insider information from legit news sites like ‘Raw Story’!”

    Sane Person: “You didn’t read or understand what’s in a four page, publicly available memo and you’re mad that Nunes didn’t review a FISA application that he wasn’t even allowed to read because he let someone more qualified review it on behalf of his committee? Please consider sterilizing yourself.”

    Congratulations. You found the most retarded article about this topic on the entire Web and shared it with us. Got anything else you need me to debunk for you?

    And an own goal

    Those agents should be concerned about their own bad actors within their ranks and how their political activities are reflecting on the Bureau, not Congress shining a light on it all. Here’s just some of the recent shit that’s made them look bad that Trump sure didn’t make them do.

    -The FBI’s top spyhunter was committing adultery with another agent and chatting about their own biases in active investigations they were working on using government phones.

    -A federal judge in Nevada dismissed a case against a right-wing rancher “with prejudice” because the FBI had concealed evidence from the court that would have justified his actions.

    -An FBI agent was indicted for lying about the circumstances surrounding the shooting of a right-wing protestor in Oregon.

    Congress has come forward with allegations that the FBI and DOJ violated the civil rights of an American citizen. There is a pattern of this sort of conduct among the FBI and it needs to be investigated and the results need to come about under color of law, not illegal leaks from mysterious “sources” and complaints from butthurt FBI agents who don’t like it when their employer’s shitty actions are found to be shitty.

    Spare us the concern trolling, CM. I you cared at all about the reputation of the FBI, you would agree that any questions surrounding their fair and legal treatment must be answered. It’s their own conduct, publicly known which is harming the FBI’s reputation. Any FBI agent who doesn’t think that the Bureau’s misconduct should be subject to Congressional oversight should be forced out of public service.

    It’s disgusting that so many progressives are out in force today spreading this nonsense.

  8. Dumbarse Page was already an FBI target because of his “greed, naivety, stupidity”.

    All that matters is one (compound) question. Did the FBI and DOJ obtain a FISA warrant against Carter Page based on information from the Steele Dossier and if so, did they willfully violate his civil rights by not sharing information with the FISA judge that would have undermined the credibility of that information?

    That’s what the memo is about and that’s what needs to be answered. Everything else is masturbation.

  9. “They are required by law to provide information they have which might help prove an accused person’s innocence to courts.”

    For trial, yes. Not for a warrant and not for a grand jury.

    Part of the Nunes memo are being disputed today. And he’s admitted now that he didn’t read the warrant but is relying on what Trey Gowdy said. This may fall apart rather fast.

  10. The issue is that Nunes decided to do this ‘reveal’ based on something he wouldn’t even be able to verify himself, and that makes accusations where the accused can’t defend themselves. The whole ‘shine a light’ nonsense is ridiculously transparent.

    Your shoulders must be mighty sore with all that water you’re now carrying.

  11. For trial, yes. Not for a warrant and not for a grand jury.

    Not exactly. It depends on the evidence they either withhold or determine isn’t important. There are circumstances where it’s irrelevant to determining probable cause and then there are others where it’s an ommission of fact.

    It’s more accurate to say in this case that the DOJ and FBI omitted facts that undercut the value of their evidence than to say that they had to provide exculpatory evidence.

    Part of the Nunes memo are being disputed today.

    Yes, anonymous sources. I’m taking nobody’s word about what is in the FISA application unless there’s someone who has actually reviewed its details is putting his or her name behind it.

    And he’s admitted now that he didn’t read the warrant but is relying on what Trey Gowdy said.

    See my responses to CM above. In any event, Nunes isn’t a lawyer. That Trey Gowdy, an experienced government prosecutor, reviewed the memo and provided his findings to Nunes makes the memo more credible, not less.

    If Gowdy says that the memo doesn’t accurately portray what’s in the FISA applications, I’ll believe him , but he hasn’t done so.

  12. The issue is that Nunes decided to do this ‘reveal’ based on something he wouldn’t even be able to verify himself, and that makes accusations where the accused can’t defend themselves.

    You’re showing a profound misunderstanding about Nunes role and what this memo is. Democrats are trying to make this all about Nunes and I see that you’re all caught up on their talking points. As long as we’re discussing Nunes, we don’t have to talk about how unpleasant it is that an American citizen’s rights were violated because a contractor hired by the Clinton campaign to support its Russia narrative and the DOJ and FBI dishonestly obtained a FISA warrant against him based on the contractor’s information. Isn’t that what you’re doing?

    Nunes isn’t a special prosecutor or anything like that. He’s a single member of Congress and can’t do much by himself. He’s the head of a committee which is specifically responsible for oversight over US intelligence activities. The way you keep blowing off the “oversight” role is ignorant. It’s literally his job.

    His powers are fairly limited, but he can subpoena documents and witnesses. He exercised his powers and interviewed witnesses such as McCabe and reviewed documents. For the application itself, he negotiated with the FBI to review it and the agreement they made was to let Gowdy review it.

    This makes sense because when your investigation is about a legal document, you should have a legal expert review it. Gowdy certainly is. Claiming that the memo is somehow weakened because Nunes didn’t read the application is a desperation move by Democrats. Gowdy did and he hasn’t denied any of the findings laid out in the memo.

    The memo isn’t an indictment of anyone named in it. Nunes can’t bring them up on charges or do anything else to them, except maybe ask them to testify again for whatever reason. The memo informs the public of what went on in this case and how the FISA process was supposedly abused.

    “The accused” aren’t on trial. It’s up to the DOJ to determine if any of them committed a crime and they’ll have all of the rights they’re entitled to, even those they tried to deny Carter Page.

    Your shoulders must be mighty sore with all that water you’re now carrying.

    This is one of the easiest topics I’ve ever argued with you about. Doesn’t take a lot of heavy lifting to handle a discussion with someone who is putting forward such weak arguments.

  13. This looks like a clear attempt at damaging the FBI in the public eye (court of public opinion) as part of the pushback against their investigations.
    No evidence is produced in the memo. All your definitive claims (e.g. “even those they tried to deny Carter Page”) rely the accusations in the carefully worded and very selective memo being true. You’ve left your skepticism at the door.

    How do you think the final source of payment for work on the dossier affect the claims within it, relating to Page (who no longer was part of the Trump campaign)?

  14. You’re accusing Thrill of toting water but are literally posting links that are based on anonymous sources and plainly either distort the facts around who reviewed the data and why or are completely ignorant of the process.

    It’s clear that the FBI has serious issues that need cleaning up. It’s impacting our democracy and it’s time that politization of the FBI needs to be stopped and carved out.

    The tantrum the Dems are throwing over Trump winning are going to far and at some point will reach a point of no return.

  15. This memo is whatever you want it to be. However, I’m going to caution every trump dick rider that left all their integrity in the shitter this is the ZENITH of the trump presidency. He is expending all of the power capital he has right now to cover his ass for things he swears to Christ are imaginary.

    Every trumpalo and republican wallflower that’s cheerleading all of these bullshit partisan baiting exercises will be in the closet like cucks watching the pendulum swing the other way next year under a democrat led congress. You’d better get your rage machines cranked up to ten because if you thought liberals loved unbridled government power before they saw this presidency, they will be completely unashamed once they’ve got their majorities back.

    I find it the epitome of schadaenfrude that an obese crybaby that took out full page ads in the newspaper calling for the execution of five innocent men now finds fault in the legal system. Lmao. He ain’t seen nuffin, yet. Come end of this year let’s see what kind of persecuted tone he takes.

  16. You’ve left your skepticism at the door.

    Well, yeah. You could say I left my skepticism on the curb. I abandoned any trust for the FBI back around 2007, after they proved they completely bungled the Anthrax investigation. The history of the FBI is over-glamorized, you know.

    Shoddy investigative work, questionable political activities, difficulty in working with local law enforcement, and civil rights violations have been FBI trademarks since its inception. It’s staggering when you go through the list of fuck-ups and malfeasance.

    You have their wiretapping of Martin Luther King, failing to detect that a career FBI agent was literally colluding with Russia for 15 years, having an innocent Boston man locked up for 30 years when agents concealed exculpatory evidence to protect one of their informants, then there was the killing of Weaver’s wife at Ruby Ridge, the various missteps that led to people being burned alive during the Waco siege, almost screwing up the Oklahoma City Bombing conviction because they failed to turn over evidence to the defense (yeah, they do this a lot), framing Richard Jewell for the Olympics bombing, fucking up the Wen Ho Lee nuclear spying investigation, failing to prevent 9/11, blaming the wrong guy for the Anthrax mailings for years until a different guy died so they could blame him instead, the inexplicable conduct of FBI agents related to the Garland, TX ISIS attack, and then the three examples I cited above. You might also have noticed that I’ve been enormously critical of the FBI when I’ve written about the Las Vegas Massacre, which has nothing to do with Trump.

    I could go on about it all day. My distrust for the FBI predates the 2016 Election and endures in recent cases that have nothing to do with Trump. I’d love to see the FBI disbanded because of its awful culture and shameful history. You know who’s to blame for the state of poor public confidence in the FBI? The FBI.

    So yeah, I think the FBI did what the FISA Abuse Memo says they did. I have no reason to think otherwise based on their own history and practices. I don’t need Trump to tell me how much they suck.

    How do you think the final source of payment for work on the dossier affect the claims within it, relating to Page (who no longer was part of the Trump campaign)?

    I don’t know for sure, but I believe a judge would have been reluctant to approve a FISA request against a presidential campaign if he knew that the FBI was basing much of its evidence on the research of a contractor who was being paid by his opponent, especially when his opponent had made her opponent’s “friendliness with Putin” a talking point in its campaign.

    I think that Comey et al believed that too or they at least should have mentioned it or it should have at least given them pause before rushing the intel to a FISA court.

    If people think that the FBI is pure as the wind driven snow, it’s no big deal that a foreign ex-spy was being paid by a presidential campaign to convince the FBI to place its opponent’s campaign under surveillance based on uncorroborated evidence, and that the memo should be discredited because Nunes didn’t read the FISA application or something, and that this shouldn’t be investigated any further because it’s making FBI agents feel bad about themselves then I’ll just remind you here that Trump is probably going to have the FBI effectively purged by 2020.

    It’s going to be fun watching your amazement when you realize that Trump has all of the same tools at his disposal that I told you were used against him. I’ll laugh at you for your reaction to this memo, you know.

  17. The tantrum the Dems are throwing over Trump winning are going to far and at some point will reach a point of no return.

    I think we hit it this week. The weeklong memo meltdown is one of the most amazing public displays of political mass hysteria I’ve ever seen.

    There are more reports coming, as I’ve been saying. This memo is just the first pebble hitting the ground ahead of the landslide.

  18. You’ve left your skepticism at the door.

    If I were drinking water, this would have made it come out of my nose. Never has the Pot been so critical of the Kettle’s blackness.

  19. This memo is whatever you want it to be.

    I was wondering where you’ve been. Was going to ping you tomorrow to see if you were okay.

  20. It’s the super bowl tomorrow, and the nba trade deadline is next week. I’m still trying to keep up with the reading here.

  21. “The accused” aren’t on trial. It’s up to the DOJ to determine if any of them committed a crime and they’ll have all of the rights they’re entitled to, even those they tried to deny Carter Page.

    Cool. And I’m sure if it turns out that the Nunes memo did leave out some of the other information that went into the warrant – say, some other suspicious connections between the Trump foreign policy team and the Russian Government – then I’m sure that Trump will declassify that information and apologise to the FBI. Because, he’s just that kind of guy, you know? If it turns out the FBI did break some law, then they’ll investigate and prosecute the guilty parties and let us all know what happened.

    I’m sure that’s the plan. I mean, Trump wouldn’t want to have the waters muddied and the reputation of the people investigating him questioned. I mean with him being 100% innocent and all, all he wants is to prove that there is absolutely nothing suspicious going on. And undermining Law Enforcement, firing investigators and asking for loyalty are all ways in which innocent people act.

  22. Ilovecress:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/03/opinion/memo-nunes-trump-obstruction.html

    You might do well to read this take from an actual attorney tasked with federal judiciary experience. He, of course, has made a conclusory statement (the subject of obstruction will inevitably turn to INTENT, which is probably the highest legal hurdle in our judicial system to PROVE) but I think if you just glean only what he writes about the PROCESS of obtaining a warrant it sheds light on just how little of a kangaroo court this warrant was obtained from.

    What the Nunes memo is trying to join together with nothing more than free association are the words “sztrok” and “Hillary” and “Steele dossier.” To the people that already want to see conspiracy in the tea leaves, there it is. To anyone with ANY hint of investigative integrity, that the memo makes absolutely ZERO criminal allegations is very telling.

    This is simply a repeat of what trump did weeks ago regarding his transitional emails being skimmed. He had a lawyer write a letter accusing the government of NOTHING but everyone was supposed to marvel at a piece of paper from a lawyer. In this case they built the suspense on heavy foreplay, and the trumpalos are going to accept this at face value because to do otherwise is simply inconvenient.

    He may try to set the table to fire Rosenstein. I kind of felt like he would after Rosenstein went in front of congress and defended mueller, but he still can’t do it in good conscience if this memo is all there is.

  23. then I’m sure that Trump will declassify that information and apologise to the FBI.

    I have no objections to Trump releasing everything. He won’t because tax returns. As for the other thing, Trump doesn’t owe the FBI leadership shit. They threw the case against Hillary Clinton, leaked about the Russia investigation incessantly, and stonewalled Congress at every turn. They should apologize.

    I’ll repeat that the FBI should be disbanded. It might be completely beyond repair.

    And undermining Law Enforcement

    He has not. This has happened to the FBI due to its own terrible leadership and institutional failings that stretch back to Hoover.

    firing investigators

    He fired Comey, who wasn’t actually investigating anything himself and had acknowledged to Congress that even if he were removed, the team of investigators would simply start reporting to whoever took his place. They did, including Strzok.

    Strzok is the only investigator who’s been fired that I’m aware of, and the person who fired him from the investigation was Mueller.

    asking for loyalty are all ways in which innocent people act.

    If true, and that’s very much an “if”, what does it even mean? Would it be unreasonable for Trump to say, “It would be disloyal for you to leak information about the Russia investigation to the media” (which Comey was)?

  24. You might do well to read this take from an actual attorney tasked with federal judiciary experience.

    Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti), a former federal prosecutor, is a Democratic candidate for attorney general in Illinois.

    Mariotti is another one from the “Well, this memo doesn’t singlehandedly indict everyone involved! It’s nothing!” camp. This memo is a starting point, not a final conclusion.

    Why did he even bother writing this op-ed if he was going to acknowledge this part?

    The Nunes memo claims to show that the warrant was obtained unlawfully, but there is no way of knowing that without examining the extensive evidence submitted in conjunction with the warrant, which the memo does not do.

    DING DING DING DING! I’d love to see a more extensive review, but how easy do you think that’s going to be with the complete shitfit the FBI, Democrats, and DOJ put out this week for just this memo? What was that ilovecress was saying about how innocent people act?

    Congressman Gowdy is one of a small number of people who has reviewed that evidence including the FISA application and he supports the memo’s findings. That’s a lot more meaningful than Mariotti’s speculation about what happen based on what “should” happen. It looks like what Mariotti thinks “should happen” might not have according to a Congressman who has performed an extensive review of the evidence, such as he suggests.

  25. You are absolutely right, Thrill. You are one of the people that wants to see conspiracy in the tea leaves so there it is for you. I guess the opinion of a federal prosecutor is “nothing” because, well, Democrat?

    I happen to agree with many conservative legal experts who say that mueller’s investigation is falling into the arena of “intent” which the federal courts haven’t ever really elaborated enough on to form a concrete burden of proof. I didn’t disregard their information because “boo. Hiss! That won’t get trump impeached!” I simply look at it and discern what might be credible. In this case, I even mentioned that the author made what I believe to be a conclusory statement with the memo, that it is all grist for the obstruction mill.

    I went further to say that it doesn’t negate that he shed some compelling light on how warrants are obtained, and elements outside of the Democrat secret handshake that might go into obtaining one.

    So, you see the memo as half full of conspiracy, I see it as half empty. The difference here is I know no matter what you or I believe it doesn’t mean shit with regard to the mueller investigation.

    I’ve said countless times that this investigation isn’t going away no matter how hard you wish, so talking about what trump coaxed a lickspittle into destroying his self respect over this week is futile.

  26. You are one of the people that wants to see conspiracy in the tea leaves so there it is for you.

    I love it when people who have been telling me for over a year that the president is a Russian agent and carried out an elaborate plot of obstruction to cover his tracks accuse me of seeing conspiracies everywhere.

    I guess the opinion of a federal prosecutor is “nothing” because, well, Democrat?

    Democrat federal prosecutor who has not seen the FISA Application < Republican federal prosecutor who has seen the FISA Application. Yeah, going with Gowdy here. He kind of has the edge in that he has seen the evidence and isn't just navel gazing in an op-ed.

    I happen to agree with many conservative legal experts who say that mueller’s investigation is falling into the arena of “intent” which the federal courts haven’t ever really elaborated enough on to form a concrete burden of proof. I didn’t disregard their information because “boo. Hiss! That won’t get trump impeached!”

    The Russia investigation exists for no other reason than to get Trump impeached. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t even be talking about obstruction. If legal experts don’t think that’s what it’s leading to, then there’s zero point in it.

    I’ve said countless times that this investigation isn’t going away no matter how hard you wish

    When have you ever said that and when have I ever suggested that it was just going to go away? I can point to countless examples where I’ve said that Mueller is going to have to run his course. I still think he should step aside based on his questionable decisions, but not that the investigation should be abandoned.

    so talking about what trump coaxed a lickspittle into destroying his self respect over this week is futile.

    Well, see, this is a “blog”. And I write about things on this blog that I find interesting and I want to discuss with other people. Most of the time, people who comment on this blog are very interested in particular topics and want to exchange thoughts and opinions. Except you. You’ve been doing this thing lately where you write multi-paragraph dissertations on why you don’t care about the issues you’re commenting on. I don’t get it but if it makes you happy, I’m happy.

    I don’t actually expect to have any impact on policy or big events like Mueller’s investigation by writing about them on this blog. However, I still write about them because it’s enjoyable and informative. I think that people have been lying about this memo for their own reasons so I decided to write about it and challenge those views. Maybe I’ll change somebody’s mind, maybe I won’t. I’m even okay if I have someone who disagrees with me just use me as a sounding board for some of their arguments and then sharpens them to argue with other conservatives elsewhere.

    But no, I have no delusions that it matters in the grand scheme of Mueller’s investigation. Apparently I had to clarify that.

    I’m looking for truth. I sift through information and ask questions. No more.

  27. Bottom line: Nobody’s going to prison, although some people could (or should) be losing their jobs over this. Is there anything that directly ties this to the Clinton campaign? It would seem so. Anything that would send her grandma ass to prison? Probably not. Is Trump celebrating too soon? Probably. Is Mueller going away? No. Is the FBI in mortal danger? No. More memos are reportedly on the way, so we’ll see what happens next.

  28. A fine summary. If I were Trump and it was as you say, I’d probably say “Fuck it” and pardon everybody.

    Emphasis: EVERYBODY for everything they committed or may have committed. I’d even do it as a tweet.

    Flynn, Hillary, Huma, Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Don Jr, Manafort, even Steele. The confused meltdown would solidify Trump as the greatest troll in history. If this is all a charade, let’s end it on the most gloriously insane note imaginable.

    We might even be able to get the truth about what really happened when everybody no longer has to cover their own asses.

  29. Whelp, all done here.

    Jesus, read the thread before commenting, folks.

    This has been noted throughout this thread already. It really is “Chewbacca Defense” bullshit. THIS is what the memo is about, as I said above:

    All that matters is one (compound) question. Did the FBI and DOJ obtain a FISA warrant against Carter Page based on information from the Steele Dossier and if so, did they willfully violate his civil rights by not sharing information with the FISA judge that would have undermined the credibility of that information?

    This is exactly the sort of dishonesty I’m talking about with regard to the memo. People are making it out to be something that’s supposed to end the Russia investigation and then acting triumphant when they find something that proves or disproves it. It’s not that.

    Gowdy also said:

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/transcript-rep-trey-gowdy-on-face-the-nation-feb-4-2018/

    REP. GOWDY: But– but it’s–it’s both the Steele dossier, and who paid for it, and whether or not it was vetted, but it’s also what was not in it. This is an application to a court. So, I get that Adam Schiff and others are worried about what’s not in my memo. I wish that they were equally concerned about what’s not in the FISA application, which is a lot of really important information about the source, and its sub-sources, and the fact that he was hired by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, and the fact that he was biased against President Trump. That is all information that the– that the finder of fact is entitled to.

    MARGARET BRENNAN: Now, we should dig into this. Because you are, from my understanding, the only Republican investigator on the House Intelligence Committee who actually viewed the FISA applications. Everything that went into essentially putting together this memo. So, when you’re talking about this Steele memo, you are not saying that it was the sole piece of evidence used to justify these four authorizations of the surveillance warrant. Are you?

    REP. GOWDY: No. It was not the exclusive information relied upon by– by the FISA court.

    MARGARET BRENNAN: Would it have been authorized were it not for that dossier?

    REP. GOWDY: No. It would not have been.

    MARGARET BRENNAN: How can you say that? Because it was authorized four times by separate judges.

    REP. GOWDY: Right. And the information was in there all four times.

    Speaking as someone who has actually read the memo, I’m telling you that this goes right to the heart of the memo’s purpose.

    Anyone who tells you that the memo is meaningless if it doesn’t immediately get Mueller fired is a brainwashed moron.

  30. I abandoned any trust for the FBI back around 2007, after they proved they completely bungled the Anthrax investigation. T
    Wasnt that Mullers baby?

  31. Is there evidence that Steele knew who he was doing research for?
    Something to contradict Glenn Simpson’s (Fusion GPS) testimony, under penalty of criminal prosecution, that Steele *didn’t know* who he was doing research for?

  32. Steele could definitely claim plausible deniability given the layers between he and the Clinton campaign and DNC. From there, it’s a matter of whether or not the FBI and DOJ can say that they didn’t know and that would be a defense for them if they can just say, “Hey, we didn’t know that he was working for the Clinton campaign. He didn’t tell us!” He might not have told them because he didn’t know.

    Not sure if anyone has seen the Senate Judiciary Committee’s criminal referral for Steele. It’s heavily redacted, but indicates that Steele knowingly received information from both Clinton allies in the US State Department and other “Clinton associates” (page 6). Hard to say to what degree he knew he was working on the campaign’s behalf from that document.

    https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2018-02-02%20CEG%20LG%20to%20DOJ%20FBI%20(Unclassified%20Steele%20Referral).pdf

    The Senate’s referral, or at least what we can see of it, pretty much makes it out that Steele was lying to the FBI and leaking all over town like crazy. I’m wondering if the push isn’t going to be making him the fall guy for everything. They can put him away, the FBI and DOJ can claim that they didn’t know he had anything to do with the Clinton campain, and thus save their own asses.

  33. I should say that the FBI/DOJ can partially save their own asses. Even if they can demonstrate that they didn’t know Steele was working for the Clinton campaign/DNC, they still have to explain why they kept using the dossier’s information in the FISA warrant extensions after they knew Steele was an unreliable source.

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