The Memo

Here it is.

[Update a few minutes later]

And here are the key findings.

[Late-night update]

This is worse than Watergate.

I’ve been saying for years that Barack Obama got away with things that Nixon could only dream of. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. And we’re only finding out because despite all their machinations, their candidate lost. If she’d won, it would have been corrupt business as usual.

[Saturday-morning update]

Why did the Democrats lie so baldly about the memo?

Because they’d reached the point at which it was the only, last resort.

49 thoughts on “The Memo”

  1. Seems to me that the critical fact is hidden in a one-liner in the memo. “Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.”
    We need the exact words of his testimony including all the context. We need to know exactly how critical the dossier was; that will determine how important it was that the application include the caveats.

    1. I agree about seeing the testimony, but it seems clear by the memo that the Dossier, along with media stories developed by Steele, are all the FISA warrant and extension was built upon. That’s the real shocking news.

      It seems the only thing supporting the Trump/Russian collusion story is a fake Dossier and news articles developed with the collusion of the Clinton Campaign/Obama DOJ/FBI/ and a British spy, all for the effort of stealing election initially, and then what that failed, overthrowing the duly elected.

      1. Right. If we were supposed to go to war over Russian meddling and overthrow an elected President, what are we supposed to do when the Obama administration, DOJ, FBI, Hillary campaign, DNC, and the media were the ones who were colluding to rig the election?

      2. Leland,

        While that is the *implication* of what Nunes said in the memo, the fact that he didn’t say so explicitly speaks volumes. You do realize that he could’ve written the same memo in the same way even if there was additional rock solid evidence that there was probable cause justifying wiretapping Page Carter? Saying they wouldn’t have done the investigation without having been tipped off by the dossier and by a Yahoo News article doesn’t mean that’s all the evidence they had. It *could* mean that, but if you look at what the memo actually says vs. what it doesn’t say, it’s ambiguous.

        Basically we have to believe that a FISA court judge who had to review this said “you have a dossier and a Yahoo article and no other corroborating evidence to investigate someone who was just involved with a presidential campaign. Sure, good enough. What could possibly go wrong?” Then when they had to bring that in front of a judge three more times over the next year (not sure if it was the same judge or multiple ones on rotation), they once again said each time that “even though you don’t have any other collaborating evidence justifying continuing this wiretap, we’ll keep it going because that Dossier and Yahoo article are just so awesome!”

        Color me skeptical. I could totally believe that the FBI would do underhanded stuff, but this seems like a very carefully worded memo that’s designed to gul people who are looking to confirm their biases.

        ~Jon

        1. “Basically we have to believe that a FISA court judge who had to review this said “you have a dossier and a Yahoo article and no other corroborating evidence to investigate someone who was just involved with a presidential campaign. Sure, good enough. What could possibly go wrong?””

          Given that FISA courts have effectively functioned as rubber stamps all these years, that’s actually credible. Only 12 out of 35,000 have ever been denied. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Court)

          1. I think we need to remember that first and foremost, this is a massive abuse of US law and undermining of our democracy. FISA is a secret court, unaccountable to us, which allows for a run around due process. This dubious investigation of the Trump campaign is merely one of many abuses, it has instigated.

        2. The problem is that we are expected to believe that the evidence that wasn’t fabricated by DNC/Obama/Hillary/Fusion collusion with Russia also wouldn’t be equally dishonest. To justify spying on the opposing Presidential campaign, that better be some amazing evidence. Apparently it is so amazing that the Democrats don’t want us to know about it.

          The same judge who signed one of the FISA orders was “randomly” assigned to the Flynn case and recused himself only when the public found out.

          The same unquestionable FBI officials who rigged the investigation into Hillary were put in charge of investigating Trump.

          There is zero reason to trust in blind faith in the Obama administration here.

        3. “Basically we have to believe that a FISA court judge who had to review this said “you have a dossier and a Yahoo article and no other corroborating evidence to investigate someone who was just involved with a presidential campaign. Sure, good enough. What could possibly go wrong?” Then when they had to bring that in front of a judge three more times over the next year (not sure if it was the same judge or multiple ones on rotation), they once again said each time that “even though you don’t have any other collaborating evidence justifying continuing this wiretap, we’ll keep it going because that Dossier and Yahoo article are just so awesome!” ”

          Hi Jon,

          According to McCabe’s testimony the Dossier was necessary – perhaps not sufficient as you point out but absolutely necessary – in order to go before the FISA court and ask for the warrant.

          That places it at a very high importance level.

          The problems come in when you consider that the FBI chose to NOT TELL the court that:

          the dossier was unproven;

          That the Yahoo article – that was used by the FBI to show the court that the dossier had weight and value and could be believed and used as cause – that article was BASED upon the Steele dossier. Circular.

          That Steele became a compromised informant and so the FBI dismissed him soon after the FBI obtained the initial warrant;

          That throughout the process of obtaining the initial warrant, then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele to dig up dirt on Trump;

          That the FBI knew Steele was being paid by the DNC and Hillary Clinton, but chose not to tell the Court

          So while you are right – there may have been other evidence presented – we do know that the dossier was absolutely essential to the case or otherwise they would not have gone to the FISA court (McCabe testimony) ….and that the FBI lied by omission when presenting the dossier.

        4. Hi Jon,

          Then there’s this:

          Rule 3.3 Candor Toward The Tribunal

          (a) A lawyer shall not knowingly:

          ……………….

          (d) In an ex parte proceeding, a lawyer shall inform the tribunal of all material facts known to the lawyer that will enable the tribunal to make an informed decision, whether or not the facts are adverse.

          So as Steyn writes more eloquently than I:

          The first request for a surveillance warrant was made on October 21st 2016 – less than three weeks before the presidential election. Did the Department of Justice and the FBI inform the tribunal of “all material facts” relating to the dossier. Did they disclose inter alia..?

          a) that it was the work of a former foreign spy now hawking his Rolodex for fun and profit;

          b) with a passionate, indeed obsessive anti-Trump bias;

          c) who was being handsomely paid for his work;

          d) by Trump’s political opponents at the DNC and the Clinton campaign;

          e) and was collaborating on anti-Trump oppo research for Hillary with the wife of the self-same Associate Deputy Attorney General heavily involved in the warrant application.

          Did they disclose, to boil it down, that this “evidence” was, in fact, the work of a paid Hillary campaign operative (at two removes) whose private business would be greatly enriched were he to take out the GOP candidate?

          Or did they pass it off as either routine FBI work-product or intelligence from a respectable source that had been independently verified by the FBI?

          The memo makes plain all the answers to the above. The DoJ/FBI did not “inform the tribunal of all material facts” but misled the judge, seriously, on fundamental matters necessary to “enable the tribunal to make an informed decision”. They misled him/her as to the nature of the document, its provenance, its credibility, the motivations of its author, and his financial ties to the Clinton camp.

          They did, however, argue that the dossier had been independently “corroborated” by a September 2016 story in Yahoo News – even though that Yahoo story came from the same guy who authored the dossier: in effect, the Government got its surveillance warrant by arguing that its fake-news dossier from Christopher Steele had been independently corroborated by a fake-news story from Christopher Steele. Either the FBI is exceedingly stupid, which would be disturbing, given their lavish budget. Or the same tight group of FBI/DoJ officials knew very well what they were doing in presenting such drivel to the FISA court.

          They’re really the two choices here: either “the world’s premier law enforcement agency” was manipulated by one freaky Brit spook, or “the world’s premier law enforcement agency” conspired with the freaky Brit spook to manipulate the judge.

        5. P.P.S.

          In case you’ve forgotten, Comey told a Congressional committee last year that the fake dossier was “salacious, unverified.”

        6. While that is the *implication* of what Nunes said in the memo, the fact that he didn’t say so explicitly speaks volumes.

          The more I think about it, the more I have to agree. If there was strong evidence for this, the memo wouldn’t merely insinuate it. I tend to look suspiciously on anything involving the FISC (not FISA, I was incorrect earlier).

  2. They’ll just brazen it out. Or, at least, that’s obviously the plan. And, the MSM will cover for them.

    If the Press had Nixon’s back, like they do any Democrat’s, he never would have left office. Chilling, but true.

    1. Notice how Obama took the most corrupt acts of previous presidents and used them as a how to guide? I bet you could go back 100 years and find examples of corruption from each Presidency that Obama emulated.

        1. That’s true but I am not sure how many people out there make a list of such things and then set out to do them. I don’t think it was a mistake that Obama emulated the worst of other Presidents, rather he looked at it like their precedence excused his behavior.

          Should we allow Hezbolla to sell drugs and launder money in the USA? Why not Reagan had Iran Contra. What Obama did dwarfed Iran Contra in scale but I bet that is how the rationalization went and we can find examples from every presidency going back to the early 1900’s.

          1. Criminals generally lack imagination. In particular, they can’t imagine getting caught or imagine any punishment. Sadly, more and more, the world seems to be conforming to this lack.

  3. On the Papadopoulos angle, it seems the Obama administration was more concerned that “Hillary’s emails”* could get leaked to the public than they were that foreign governments might have her emails or the testimony of Obama administration officials about the security of her emails.

    IOW, while it would be bad if the Trump campaign got them, it would also be bad for the Obama administration because it would show they had been lying to congress and the public about them.

    *We don’t know what “Hillary’s emails” means. The DNC emails were not Hillary’s. Podesta’s emails were not Hillary’s. Those were the emails released by Wikileaks. But they are often conflated by the media with emails released through various investigations into Hillary’s server and tenure at the State Department, which was a deliberate tactic of the Hillary campaign and her pravda media.

    If Papadopoulos thought the Russians had the contents of her server, wouldn’t that mean the intelligence agencies should be investigating Hillary and her team as well as Russia rather than, or in addition to, a person who might know the Russians have them? But if Papadopoulos was right and the Russians had them, wouldn’t that mean the DOJ/FBI?Obama admin was lying?

    This is the same DOJ that wouldn’t seize hard drives, computers, phones, ect in other Obama scandals or investigating the DNC/Podesta emails, concluded the Hillary investigation before interviews, handed out immunity to everyone connected to Hillary, and didn’t do anything about the Democrats entire communications system being open to Pakistani criminals.

  4. The reactions to the Nunes Memo are quite odd, especially since it’s been known for some time that Carter Page has been monitored by the intelligence community since 2013, well before Trump even declared his candidacy. IMHO, the FBI’s biggest sin is that they didn’t notify the campaign about their suspicions regarding Carter Page or other personnel.

    1. IMHO, the FBI’s biggest sin is that they didn’t notify the campaign about their suspicions regarding Carter Page or other personnel.

      Which would violate Carter Page’s 5th and 6th Amendment protections; as opposed to the FBI’s violation of his 4th Amendment protections by using manufactured evidence to create a fake probable cause to obtain a warrant.

      I can see why you might find other reactions odd.

    2. Carter Page has been monitored by the intelligence community since 2013

      Not continuously. They didn’t find anything or he would have been in jail long before the election.

      He became a target because the Russians wanted to use him, not because of anything Page did himself. Page’s only actions were giving speeches and if that is the level of activity that merits being spied on, then how long were the Clintons under surveillance?

  5. Don’t get caught up in a “there was/could have been other evidence to support the warrant” distraction. A criminal act was committed regardless of other evidence. The FBI knew that the dossier was paid for from Clinton’s campaign and did not disclose that information to the court issuing the warrant. They were required by law to disclose this information. They did not correct this oversight when renewing the warrant. They committed this crime because they were working to get Clinton elected and Trump defeated. They are federal government employees, some with police powers, and they crimimally conspired to control an election outcome. There is no other material evidence that nullifies this crime. This criminal activity is much worse than watergate and many FBI and State Department personnel should be removed and some should go to jail.

    1. Exactly right. Dems are just waiting for the moment to claim this is old news, so let’s just move on and forget the actual crimes.

      Actually, I expect the rebuttal memo to get them into a worse situation.

  6. Looks to me like the next step on draining this sector of the swamp is unclassifying the related FISA warrants, followed by prosecution of the domestic enemy agents who foisted the fraudulent dossier on the court.

  7. Well, that was anticlimactic. I suppose we did get the first official confirmation of the NYT’s 30 December report that it was George Papadopoulos’s drunken boast which started the FBI counterintelligence operation.

    Nothing in this memo seems to deserve much classification, so my guess regarding the hullabaloo surrounding its release is that the FBI was honest in their statement that the memo contains “material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy“, and that properly rebutting the memo would involve the release of other evidence they do not wish to publicly disclosed at this time. Carter Page had been under investigation by the FBI since around 2013 and had a FISA warrant issued against him back in 2014. The late summer 2016 FISA warrant request may well have relied on additional evidence whose release at this time would be damaging.

    1. Have to be careful with the NYT. They have their own material admissions here. Who leaked them the emails and what did they leave out?

      About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.

      What emails? The NYT says it was DNC and Podesta emails but at the time there was much speculation that foreign governments had hacked Hillary’s server. A great many people were saying that Russia had Hillary’s emails. The phrasing of the quote leaves a lot open to the imagination. We don’t even know what was said in the bar, just the NYT characterization of it third hand.

      So did Papadopoulos say that Russia worked with Trump to get the DNC/Podesta emails or did he say that of course Russia has the emails off her server? Was a common sentiment used as a pretext for spying or was there actual cause?

      And, like the campaign itself, he proved to be a tantalizing target for a Russian influence operation.

      Then the article moves asserts that the Trump campaign did work with the Russians and so did Papadopoulos. But notice that it is no longer about Hillary’s emails. It has transformed into an influence operation. The rest of the article is about trying to set up a meeting with Putin and Trump.

      The spying on Papadopoulos didn’t lead to any evidence of collusion in hacking DNC/Podesta emails and Hillary’s server had long since been wiped. Instead the spying showed a staffer trying to set up a meeting between Trump and Putin, which is not illegal. Some might say that talking to foreign heads of state is the President’s job.

      1. Also, if a comment like Papdopoulous’ could lead to spying on the Trump campaign and cause the Obama administration to investigate them, then what about the Hillary campaign?

        The Obama administration knew that the dossier was the product of a foreign agent (Steele) who was working for a company (Fusion) who was hired by the Russians to lobby Americans on the Magnitsky act and to wage a PR war in the media against its supporters. Much of the material in the dossier came from Russian sources. The Obama administration also knew that Fusion was hired by the DNC and Hillary campaign.

        Considering the well established collusion with Russian agents, why didn’t the honorable and trustworthy FBI open an investigation into the Hillary campaign to look at collusion with foreign agents?

        Instead, the honorable FBI used the dossier produced by Russian agents as evidence to ask for a FISA warrant. And it turns out there was an incestuous relationship between some at the FBI and Fusion, just as there is with many members of the media and Fusion.

      1. Eric, never been a D. Still registered R, though at heart am more an I with libertarian leanings. Am greatly disappointed at the wave of conspiratorial hysteria sweeping politics in general and my party in particular.

        1. No one has all the information here and are relying on people to relate it to us. Many of the people who do so characterize to suit their agenda. The NYT and other big media outlets have been terrible about this. Some would say the congressional Republicans were with the memo.

          It just comes back to none of us having all of the information, that leads to speculation, or conspiratorial thinking, even from people who think they are being reasonable.

    2. “Nothing in this memo seems to deserve much classification”

      I agree, so why did the Democrats claim it did? And why did they fight so hard to prevent its release based on the claim it would divulge sources and methods?

      As for your guess, the whole FBI statement is a circular argument. They claim the memo omits information, information they claim to have but refuse to release even to Congress, so they claim the memo is inaccurate because it doesn’t include information that isn’t available from the FBI. People I know call that a self-licking ice cream cone.

      1. > They claim the memo omits information, information they claim to have but refuse to release even to Congress

        Really? I figured it was more an issue of information which was available for congressional viewing (at least for those cleared — I’m not sure how that works, but I understand that only two members of the HPSCI had viewed the source documents) but too sensitive to publicly reveal (not for concerns of what our citizens would see, but for foreign actors. — we are talking foreign counterintelligence here.).

        If this is more than political grandstanding, there are better ways of going about this. The FBI director should be called in to answer questions before concerns like this are made public. Another item could be added to DOJ IG Horowitz’s plate. It’s the way this is being done which makes me doubt its substance.

        This is like a brunette finding a blond hair on her husband’s jacket, and not only waiting until they are in a restaurant to make a scene, but then walking out without listening to his explanation and heading over to the local paper’s office to take out a full page accusatory ad. She doesn’t want an explanation. She wanted a divorce before she even saw the hair.

  8. Leftist trolls are throwing an even bigger tantrum about this document than about Trump’s victory, in the comment section of every article about it I’ve seen anywhere on the web. I never knew so many leftists regularly read “right wing” on line publications. They certainly are providing the bulk of the commentary, if you want to call it that. Mostly its childish, irrational, hate-filled mockery, slurs, and protests that the memo is “nothing new, but it’s all lies anyway, and you conservatives are all traitors.”

    1. Funny, isn’t it. First it was so important that every Democrat had to vote against it being released. Yet now it’s a ‘nothingburger’.

      You can tell it’s got them scared by the volume of their shrieking.

  9. By now, the Democrats have responded, and we’re at “he said, she said”. They need to release the actual FISA submissions to settle it, and that may be just too classified to try.

    1. No doubt the democrats will scream bloody murder at the suggestion of declassifying and releasing the FISA submissions based on the fraudulent dossier, claiming all kinds of national security concerns, just like they did for this memo.

    2. It doesn’t really matter how classified the FISA application is. We had a sitting President spying on the opposing Presidential campaign and colluded with the other campaign and the media to do it. This is also in the context of rigging an investigation into the President’s preferred successor.

      The people have the right to know the truth. If Trump colluded with the Russians, then we would know since Trump was spied on in real time. That should come out. But if Trump didn’t collude with the Russians, then we have an even bigger problem with abuses of power that rank as the worst in our country’s history. Either way it isn’t great for the country and the people have a right to know.

      Right now, it looks like the only top secret sources and methods that would be compromised are the ones that allow for extreme and unaccountable abuses of power.

  10. One complaint about the memo is that it supposedly divulged methods and sources. Unless the method is how the FISA court works, I’m not finding any of that in the memo. But here’s my real point, wouldn’t the Dossier be more likely to have methods and sources within it? You can’t just claim to have this data on Trump without information on how it was obtained. Otherwise it would have been inadmissible in court.

    The memo says how it obtained its observations, which was from its oversight rile to question Executive Branch employees. That role is not classified.

    1. But here’s my real point, wouldn’t the Dossier be more likely to have methods and sources within it?

      Many of the sources were Russians. Somehow Democrats can’t muster up any outrage over this Russian collusion.

  11. You know, the one thing I haven’t heard anyone mention is the possibility that the FISA judge had just as big an aversion to Trump as the FBI and DoJ officials – particularly if he/she was an Obama appointee. That judge could just as easily issue the FISA warrant with a wink and a nod to the thin basis provided, completing the circle of malfeasance. If anyone thinks that too unlikely, consider the antics of federal court judges who publicly blocked implementation of Trump’s travel restrictions, based on nothing but their own personal preferences. They didn’t even have the shield of a secret proceeding, unlikely to ever see the light of day – they were as brazen and blatant about it as they could possibly have been.

    On another topic, Joe Digenova was on WMAL this morning and said something about Carter Page that I’ve been unable to independently verify. He said that his contact with the FBI in 2013 wasn’t as a suspect. According to Digenova, Page approached the FBI with concerns that he was being recruited as an agent, and became an FBI confidential informant. He sounded very sure of himself, but I haven’t found this anywhere else. Can someone be on the lookout?

    1. Spying on a couple minor campaign staffers isn’t likely to garner much intelligence for the Hillary campaign or the Obama administration. I am curious if the FISA’s were used to expand spying beyond their original targets to people who they communicated with and how many degrees of separation away from the original target the spying went.

      Corrupt judges wouldn’t be surprising since the Democrats explicit rationale in selecting judges is how they will rule in contravention of established law.

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