The Memo

Over the last few weeks, the news has been flooded with a lot of discussion surrounding a memo that Republican congressmen, Devin Nunes, authored and spread around Congress which claims to have proof that would discredit the FBI and DOJ in their handling of the investigations into President Trump’s campaign and Russia.

The president unclassified the information in this memo today and it was released to the public. In short, the memo reads a little like a “burn book” and is full of information already known to the public with very little context and a lot of things missing. It also drags the Clinton campaign and Obama administration back into the mix.

Greedily, I wanted to read it. I wanted to read what has had everyone up in arms for weeks. I wanted to know the secrets that were classified. Upon reading the memo, I was disappointed and amused.

The memo outlines the obtainment of FISA warrants to surveil Carter Page, a former Trump campaign member who left the campaign in September 2017 due to his ties to Russia. This surveillance was done after Page’s exit from the campaign and the warrant was renewed 3 times (Wheeler et al., 2018). FISA warrants have to be renewed every 90 days.

The memo also discusses the Steele Dossier and the funding behind it which has been linked to the DNC and the Clinton campaign. The memo does not claim that the legal surveillance of Carter Page was based solely on this dossier, neither does it discuss the fact that many of the findings in the dossier have been proven (Wheeler et al., 2018).

The Left:

Democrats have stated that the memo alters the facts and that it’s an attempt to undermine the investigations into the president and the Trump campaign. Democrats believe the memo is an attempt to explain away the president’s obstruction of justice investigation.

The Right:

Republicans say that the memo outlines abuse of power and bias within the investigation due to the left-leaning author of the Steele Dossier, Christopher Steele. Republicans also believe the memo highlights the Clinton campaign and Obama administration’s connection to the dossier showing bias.

So…

who cares?

This is an example of a news story that was sensationalized to sell seats to the show. This is a waste of money, time, effort, and give-a-damns.

You should care that so many people in Congress, the White House, and the media are spending so much time on this. Ultimately, the memo was written by a Republican and presents pieces of a puzzle that were mostly known. Does this prove misconduct by the DOJ and FBI? No. What it does prove is that these things happened and that there are likely details that are missing which could shed some light and context on the investigations.

what is true?

  1. Getting a FISA Warrant without good cause is impossible.
  2. Carter Page left the campaign due to his ties to Russia and has been blackballed in D.C..
  3. Christopher Stelle is not a fan of the president.
  4. Initially, the DNC and Clinton campaign paid a third party to conduct opposition research into Donald Trump, which turned into the Steele Dossier.
  5. This story is polarizing and attempts to set people against each other.
  6. Hillary Clinton lost the election.

References:

Wheeler, M., Carpenter, M., Strauss, B., & Stanton, T. G. (2018, February 01). Democrats Embraced a Flawed Dossier-And Gave Republicans an Opening. Retrieved February 02, 2018, from https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/02/01/russia-steele-dossier-democrats-republicans-216921

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