The first key point is an evasion, the second is murky, and the third is completely chickenshit.
The first issue I should address is how my own predictions met with the final product. The primary test I applied was this:
For the Democrat Memo to mean anything beyond that and effectively counter what Nunes and Grassley put out, it has to show that the allegations in the Steele Dossier and Steele’s own credibility were not key to obtaining or extending the FISA warrant against Carter Page.
My focus is to decide whether Schiff’s memo achieves this.
First, let’s look at Schiff’s first point. He alleges that Steele’s intelligence did not initiate the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Carter Page. Did not initiate it. It didn’t initiate it.
This is true, and neither the Nunes or Grassley memos say otherwise. They only say that the FISA warrant was sought in October 2016. The FBI investigation began in July of that year. This is a purposeful misdirection on Schiff’s part.
The second bullet point claims, essentially, that it wasn’t the information in the Steele Dossier that was used to obtain the FISA warrant, but Steele’s credibility–which is exactly what the Grassley Memo quotes Comey as saying. In that regard, the three memos agree.
Where they diverge is that Schiff says the DOJ did tell the court what Steele’s biases were, that the FISC was informed of the reasons for Steele’s termination as a source, and that the political motivations of his employer were stated to the court.
Notably, Schiff’s memo emphasizes that Steele was hired by “a law firm” and had no idea that either political campaign was behind the effort to gather research.
This gives cover to the Clinton campaign and even I acknowledged that it’s not 100% clear from the Grassley and Nunes memos that Steele knew he was ultimately being paid by the Clinton campaign. Nunes and Grassley claimed that the FBI did know, or should have. It’s therefore not perfectly established what Steele knew or what the FBI knew. We need to see the FISA applications for ourselves.
In effect, Schiff is claiming that the FBI did not know who had ultimately commissioned the dossier because the Clinton campaign was smart enough to have multiple layers placed between itself and Steele. Schiff just doesn’t bluntly say so. Again: one political campaign was able to get the FBI to spy on a campaign volunteer from the opposing campaign. What I will say is that it’s the one allegation made in the memo that I consider new information.
The third bullet point is a pure cheap shot and is completely outrageous. Schiff knows full well that Nunes wasn’t permitted to review the FISA application because he found it better to let Trey Gowdy read it. Each party was permitted only one person review the memo. Schiff, an experienced former US Attorney, read the FISA application on behalf of the Democrats. Nunes, who was a farmer, decided that it would be better to have Gowdy (himself an experienced former US Attorney) review it on behalf of the Republicans.
Schiff faulting Nunes for not reading the FISA application is pure chicken-shittery. It’s so dishonest that it hurts the credibility of the rest of the memo. Notably, Schiff’s Memo doesn’t address Grassley’s findings at all, and Grassley did review the FISA application.
There’s much more and I’d need more time to digest it, but I only focused on the question of whether or not Schiff’s memo contradicts that of Nunes and Grassley. It doesn’t.
From here, we need to see two things. The first is the FISA application itself. All three memos agree that the Yahoo article Steele provided information for factored into it. Schiff acknowledged that it was used all three times, but claims that it wasn’t used as independent corroboration, but that doesn’t hold up because he also went to great lengths to explain that it doesn’t matter because the FBI couldn’t be sure that Steele told that exact information to Yahoo’s reporter anyway.
I’m curious to know, but well-aware that we won’t be told anytime soon, what valuable evidence was gained from the surveillance of Carter Page. Schiff goes to great pains to emphasize that Page had left the campaign officially in September 2016, but what intelligence was the FBI gathering and on whom? Was Page still in contact with anyone on the campaign and was it under the warrant’s purview?
Second thing we need is to hear McCabe’s Congressional testimony in which he supposedly claims that the dossier was critical for obtaining the FISA warrant and extending it.
Everything else the Schiff memo says that flatly contradicts what was and wasn’t in the FISA application is redacted. We’re back where we started, but the fact remains that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to spy on an American citizen, who had been a volunteer employee of a presidential campaign, based on the information and credibility of a foreign operative–who may or may not have known that he was working for the opposing presidential campaign–and continued using information supplied by that operative after he had been terminated for leaking to the press and lying about it to the FBI.
If you want to know what I really want right now, it’s an explanation as to why Christopher Steele has not already been indicted. If you’re interested in the topic of foreign involvement in the 2016 election through manipulation of mass media, he’s at Ground Zero of it.
Seriously, how is this justified? It’s mentioned in both Schiff and Grassley’s memos.
Insane. The bottom line is that if Democrats are hoping to exonerate the FBI/DOJ of any wrongdoing and justify the Trump-Russia-Possible Collusion investigation, they should agree with me that Steele needs to be indicted. Schiff’s memo is good damage control in the public square, but it only gives further evidence that a trusted source for the FBI used to spy on an American citizen was dirty.
How that affects the investigation itself remains to be seen and will require the release of more evidence. Let’s do it, I say.