Russia Probe

The Shame of Devin Nunes

Our president thinks that Rep. Nunes will go down in history as "a great American." He is wrong.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

There are a lot of reasons why people who care about the state of this country, whatever their political stripes and persuasions, should be appalled and angry about the Nunes Affair. Here are a few of them.

You are, let us suppose, Rep. Devin Nunes. At your instigation, the Committee on which you serve as Chairman is about to release a classified memorandum that you prepared, concerning a matter of great national importance. It accuses the FBI of misbehavior in connection with the submission of FISA warrant applications in the Russia probe.

At the top of page two, the memorandum makes a single—serious—accusation: "Our findings indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted [from] the four FISA warrant applications involving Carter Page." The rest of the memo consists of five separate instance where such "omissions" occurred.

Releasing the memo is a big step, for you and for the country. You will be in the history books forever in connection with this memorandum; your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will read all about your participation in these events, and history can be a harsh and a cruel judge.

Surely, before committing yourself to such a step, you would have carefully read the underlying documents, viz. the warrant applications themselves, which constitute the evidence for the purported misbehavior. After all, you want to be as certain as you can possibly be that the information in the memo is accurate, and that you are presenting it as forcefully (and as fairly) as possible.

And surely you'll be especially diligent here, because the memo alleges omissions from the warrant applications. If the assertion were that the FBI, say, used false information in the applications, you could, I suppose—you're a busy man—content yourself with reading only those portions of the applications where the false information was provided; that would prove the case. But omissions are trickier. It's not rocket science; if you say "The car keys are not in the drawer," you have to first have looked in the drawer.

This, it turns out, he did not do. He never even saw the applications. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) was the only member of the Committee to actually examine the underlying documents that are relied on as evidence of this misbehavior. Under an agreement with the DOJ, only one member of the Committee was permitted (along with two investigators from the Committee staff***) to view the documents, and Nunes chose Gowdy for the job.

***Tangentially, that agreement between the Committee and the FBI strikes me as a bit odd. The main oversight committee in the House can't get unfettered access to classified material? I'm surprised by that, to be honest. And what's with the two "investigators" who, in addition to a single Committee member, were granted access? I do not understand the rationale for allowing staff members, but not additional Members of the Committee, to look at the applications. Perhaps some of you can enlighten me on that.

Gowdy (and the two investigators) examined the applications and then summarized their contents for Nunes and the rest of the Committee. Then, Nunes, in effect, summarized that summary in his memorandum.

Putting aside the specifics of the five supposed instances of misbehavior [you can read them here]: Wouldn't you think that Rep. Nunes would want to have actually read the documents on which this assertion is (entirely) based? Just to be sure that the information was, indeed, omitted, and not buried somewhere in the mass of material? And that it was, indeed, material to the application?

That he relied on a summary of those documents prepared by a colleague and staff for this claim—given its obvious seriousness and significance for critical questions about how our government is functioning—beggars belief. How in heaven's name can Rep. Nunes can be certain—and he damned well better be certain, given the damage he is wreaking—that information was "omitted" from a series of documents without actually having read the documents?

If this were the California Model Congress and Nunes were a high school junior, I would tell him: that's not how you do your work, not when there's a lot on the line. You're the Chairman of the Committee; get the damned documents, and make sure you know what the hell you're talking about. Summaries of summaries won't cut it. Even if you're peddling bullshit, own your own bullshit. If you want people to take seriously what you say and write, show that you take it seriously.

It's deeply disturbing, at least in my eyes—the shoddiness and the amateurishness of it all.

AND THIS JUST IN: While I preparing this posting, news arrived that Rep. Nunes has admitted that one of the purported "omissions" was, to put it kindly, bullshit. It's the very first one listed in the memo, as it happens, the real blockbuster: the claim that none of the FISA applications "reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding" the Steele Dossier.

But in an appearance on "Fox & Friends," Nunes admitted that there was indeed a "footnote" to that effect included in the FISA application.

OOPS! See, that's why you need to actually read the documents, Mr. Nunes. Even the footnotes. I know—it's a pain. But it's part of owning your bullshit, and of not looking, in history's eyes, like a moron.

And Nunes' excuse for his, um, oversight is truly laughable. Yes, the information was in there, but only in a footnote, which is "a far cry from letting the American people know that the Democrats and the Hillary campaign paid for dirt that the FBI then used to get a warrant on an American citizen to spy on another campaign." Apparently, he forgot that FISA warrant applications are classified, and do not "let the American people" know anything about anything; even if they had put the information in bold-faced type on every page, "the American people" would not have known about any of it. [You'd think he would have remembered that, no?]

But that is hardly the worst of it. The worst of it, I think, is the contempt that Nunes and his supporters have shown for the very fundamental principle that there are—always—two sides to every story. Even if, after reading Nunes' summary of Gowdy's summary, you believe that it makes a compelling case that there was serious FBI misbehavior—a view I happen not to share, but that's neither here nor there at the moment—we don't know what actually happened, let alone whether or not it constituted misbehavior, until we hear the other side's explanation of things.

It's why we don't allow juries to convict people of criminal misbehavior at the close of the prosecutor's evidence. It's not only because it would be unfair to do so (which of course it would be); it's also because we recognize that we can't know what happened until we hear the other side's version of the events. Our adherence to adversary processes in legal proceedings, and our insistence that people charged with misbehavior have a right to give their version of events, is not just about fairness; it's about truth-finding. Hardly perfect, Lord knows—to paraphrase Churchill, it's the worst system for getting at the truth, except for all the others. We don't believe the story the government tells until we hear from the defense, because we don't know what happened until we hear from the other side.

Astonishingly—and in my view, impeachably—Rep. Nunes refused to allow the FBI to come in and to give him, and the rest of the Committee, its version of things. We know that their version is substantially different than the one in the memo, because the Bureau expressed "grave concerns about material omissions [from the memorandum] that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy." [And I bet they actually read the memo before concluding that it had material omissions that fundamentally impact its accuracy]

But Nunes, and Gowdy, and the rest of the Republicans weren't interested in hearing their version of events.

It's shameful. Absolutely shameful. If you actually wanted to know whether there was FBI misbehavior, you'd want to hear from the people ostensibly involved; indeed, you'd call them in and demand that they give you an explanation for what they did. Not giving them that opportunity is terribly unfair; after all, there are individuals here who's reputations and careers are at stake, and to proceed without hearing their characterization of events is disgraceful.

But more than that, their unwillingness to hear the FBI's characterization of the events shows that they could care less about whether or not the memorandum was, indeed, accurate.

And if they could care less, how can anyone possibly believe a single word of it?

Some otherwise sensible people seem to have lost sight of this elementary principle. The Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal, for example. In its editorial—a summary of Nunes' summary of Gowdy's summary, in effect—it writes:

The memo says an "essential" part of the FISA application was the "dossier" assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele and the research firm Fusion GPS that was hired by a law firm attached to the Clinton campaign. The memo adds that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told the committee in December 2017 that "no surveillance warrant would have been sought" without the dossier.

This is troubling enough, but the memo also discloses that the FBI failed to inform the FISA court that the Clinton campaign had funded the dossier. The FBI never informed the court that Mr. Steele was in effect working for the Clinton campaign. The FBI retained Mr. Steele as a source, and in October 2016 he talked to Mother Jones magazine without authorization about the FBI investigation and his dossier alleging collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. The FBI then fired Mr. Steele, but it never told the FISA judges about that either. Nor did it tell the court any of this as it sought three subsequent renewals of the order on Mr. Page.

Note the verbs: the memo "says" this and "discloses" that and "adds" something else. Fair enough.

And then: "The FBI never informed the court that Mr. Steele was in effect working for the Clinton campaign."

No, that should read "The memo says that the FBI never informed the court that Steele was in effect working for the Clinton campaign." Omitting those introductory four words makes it look as though the WSJ Board actually believes the memo's assertion(s). But the memo was prepared by people who don't care about the truth, so its assertions, while they might be true, might be not-true. And I cannot help but wonder how the Wall Street Journal is so sure that they are true, not having heard any alternative explanation of the events.

SEE OOPS! above. Now the WSJ Editorial Board looks, collectively, like a moron.

It is disgraceful. I have been reading a great deal lately about Britain during the years leading up to WW II, and it occurs to me that it must have been a special kind of misery for Neville Chamberlain, say, or Lord Halifax, or the collaborationist William Joyce ("Lord Haw-Haw"), to know that their grand-children and great-granchildren would, when reading about them in the history books, find that their names were associated with treachery and stupidity and pusillanimity. Rep. Nunes should, perhaps, have thought a bit more about that.

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  1. And maybe, if you were David Post, you would read the stories you link to and notice that the Nunes memo said that the warrant applications never disclosed “the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts”, and the talking point that supposedly controverts that is that a footnote mentioned that it came from a political entity. And maybe you’d realize that there is a substantive difference between those terms before you write a long, huffy opinion piece. Or maybe you wouldn’t, and instead you make yourself look like a fool.

    1. I totally agree! Trump Derangement Syndrome is very real.

    2. So what is the substantive difference between noting it came from a political campaign and specifying said campaign was the DNC?

      1. I think we need to see the exact language of the footnote. If, for example, the footnote merely mentions that the FBI obtained the dossier from a political source, that’s much different than a footnote mentioning that the dossier was the result of the DNC/Clinton paying for opposition research on Trump.

      2. The wording of the talking point — I think carefully chosen — is that it disclosed that the dossier came from a political “entity”, not a campaign.

        1. The concern is bias, no? How is the bias different from the DNC versus any other political entity?

          Political entities all definitionally have agendas to push, after all.

          1. The concern is indeed bias, but there is quite a lot of difference in motivation and degree of bias between “file put together by a political partner” and “muck-raking opposition research”. If the FBI did not disclose that the dossier was oppo research, they either mislead the court or got played. Either one is a serious problem for the FISA process.

            1. You think the FISA judge would have been under the impression the Steele Dossier was put together by a political partner of Trump’s?

              Come off it. Bad info on candidate paid for by a political entity is exactly what oppo research is.

              1. So point us at what the warrant application actually said, so that we can share your conviction that it adequately disclosed the nature of the dossier.

            2. I get the overall point: “More info is always better than less info.”

              But what most Trump supporters don’t seem to get (or willfully ignore) is that courts almost never get *all* the info. It is very very (very very very) routine to give some of the details, but not everything.

              If you filed a warrant application for, say, wiretapping on a drug suspect, and you put in “Drug sales were observed on multiple occasions by a relative of Suspect.”; do you really think that a judge will care all that much if the “relative” was a 2nd cousin vs an uncle?

              You are free to argue that courts *should* care about these differences, and that failure to put in such details fatally weakens the application. And, God knows, there are certainly cases where those differences are critical. (If a couple is in the midst of a bitter divorce, a judge certain should know if a witness is one of the spouses, or, is one of the more-removed relatives.)

              I just do NOT get the significance of specifying which particular pro-Hillary entity funded this. The judge knew the political component. Since God gave that judge a brain, he/she knew that it was definitely not gonna be from a pro-Trump entity. Which one seems relatively irrelevant to me.

              [continued] . . .

              1. [continuing] . . .

                (And if the shoes had been on the other foot, and I was presented with a warrant application against a Clinton aide/volunteer/staff member, I would not care at all if one source had been funded by Trump personally vs by the Trump campaign vs by the Koch Brothers vs by Breitbart. I’d get that the source wanted to politically hurt Sec. Clinton, and would give that as much or as little weight as I felt it deserved.)

                Honestly, I feel a bit disappointed at the responses here. There are partisans on both sides, of course. There are wingnuts on both sides, of course. And I get that this is the internet. But surely there are some, SOME, Trump supporters with an open mind.

                I’m sorry to have not seen (yet?) any supporters with the integrity to write, “You know; I’ve changed my mind. I had based all my objections on the premise that the FBI gave zero heads-up to the court. But it did. And I’m not going to move the goalposts now. The warrant seems fine now. Not perfect. But no worse than warrants targeting non-politicians, and that’s good enough for me. I’m glad to know that the Trump’s attack on the honesty of the FBI and DOJ was off-base.

                Deeply disappointing. But I cannot say how much I appreciated the OP. It said, more clearly than I could have, what actually did and did not happen during this horrific “Intelligence” Committee memo fiasco.

                1. “I would not care at all if one source had been funded by Trump personally vs by the Trump campaign vs by the Koch Brothers vs by Breitbart.”

                  Unfortunately it wasn’t one source, it was the only source whether one is talking about the dossier from Steele, data from Ohr’s wife, Yahoo News report, etc.; they all came from the same source. Duhhh

              2. Spin all you like, but everyone who isn’t a blatant Clinton partisan understands why it was important to disclose that the key evidence supporting the warrant application was political opposition research, rather than just information that came in the door from an unspecified political entity.

                1. “Spin all you like, but everyone who isn’t a blatant Clinton partisan understands why it was important to disclose that the key evidence supporting the warrant application was political opposition research”

                  Important is irrelevant to the issue of whether or not there was any misconduct on the part of the FBI.

                  To make the case for FBI misconduct in the FISA warrant application, you have to come up with a legal obligation to disclose the information such that withholding the information invalidates the warrant.

                  1. Why in the world would FBI misconduct have to be of a variety that would invalidate the warrant for it to qualify as serious misconduct? The laws passed in response to COINTELPRO, to pick an example, were not limited to government actions that would have invalidated warrants.

                    1. “Why in the world would FBI misconduct have to be of a variety that would invalidate the warrant for it to qualify as serious misconduct?”

                      Because the alleged misconduct is in it’s entirety about an application for a warrant.

                      If there is no LAW that says they had an obligation to disclose the allegedly not disclosed information, there is no misconduct.

                    2. Meanwhile, the rest of us are aware that laws do not precisely circumscribe what is moral or otherwise proper.

                    3. Moral and proper are not the determiners of official misconduct by government officials, the law is.

                    4. The law defines what is illegal. The propriety of everything else is decidecd on by the voters at the next election.

                    5. Wrong.

                      For example, the DOJ ethics handbook cites Executive Orders, the CFR, the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual, an Attorney General’s Memorandum, a DOJ Order, and “Professional Codes” in addition to the US Code. Quite a few sections of that document do not cite the US Code at all. It also notes that elements within the DOJ may have further rules and regulations specific to their particular situations.

                      Outside the DOJ, there are many more examples of regulations and ethics rules that are not spelled out in laws, or obviously implied by laws. Those may be triggered by being an officer of a court, holding a security clearance, or other considerations.

                  2. I’m curious Matthew. All of the supporting data for the FISA warrant came from one source, Fusion GPS; whether one is talking about the Steele dossier, data from Ohr’s wife, Yahoo News and other reports, etc. They all lead back to the same source Fusion GPS operatives. I would note that even the “Russian” lawyer that met with Don Jr., et.al. met with Fusion GPS both before and after the meeting with Trump personnel.

                    IOW the FBI used one source for the data and corroboration in the FISA warrant which violates several procedures as well as several US Laws. I don’t care if one hates or loves Trump; this is some serious shit, spying on US citizens. Then we have the unmasking and opening up classified data to almost all the top Obama admin personnel, all of this for political purposes. If not for political purposes then why was the HRC campaign, DNC, et.al. not included as almost all the data shows they were the ones colluding, paying, etc. foreign agents to interfere in the election.

                    1. “All of the supporting data for the FISA warrant came from one source, Fusion GPS; whether one is talking about the Steele dossier, data from Ohr’s wife, Yahoo News and other reports, etc.”

                      How do you know that? The Nunes memo doesn’t say that.

                    2. Actually, the information came from unnamed Russians!

                      It was Russians who gave Steele his information, Russians who were never vetted and who, therefore, could have been pushing disinformation.

                    3. “All of the supporting data for the FISA warrant came from one source, Fusion GPS.”

                      False. According to well-known lefty Devin Nunes: “The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos…”

                      The memo goes on to attack that other supporting data. You may find that attack more convincing I do. But even if you find it wholly convincing, it doesn’t make the mention magically vanish.

                      So no, all the data supporting FBI surveillance of self-proclaimed Kremlin adviser Carter Page did not come from a single source.

                  3. To make the case for FBI misconduct in the FISA warrant application, you have to come up with a legal obligation to disclose the information such that withholding the information invalidates the warrant.

                    The presenting of unverified information is also FBI misconduct.

                2. “Spin all you like, but everyone who isn’t a blatant Clinton partisan understands why it was important to disclose that the key evidence supporting the warrant application was political opposition research”

                  Important is irrelevant to the issue of whether or not there was any misconduct on the part of the FBI.

                  To make the case for FBI misconduct in the FISA warrant application, you have to come up with a legal obligation to disclose the information such that withholding the information invalidates the warrant.

                  1. MatthewSlyfield:

                    To make the case for FBI misconduct in the FISA warrant application, you have to come up with a legal obligation to disclose the information such that withholding the information invalidates the warrant.

                    The Rules for FISA Courts do not allow omission of a material fact.

                    Rule 13. Correction of Misstatement or Omission; Disclosure of Non?Compliance.
                    (a) Correction of Material Facts. If the government discovers that a submission to the Court contained a misstatement or omission of material fact, the government, in writing, must immediately inform the Judge to whom the submission was made?

                    Even if such an omission does not invalidate the warrant (which we don’t know) it is a FISA abuse that we should make sure doesn’t happen again.

                3. I’m not a Clinton partisan. I’m a fierce Clinton opponent. And I don’t understand your point at all. I think what it boils down to is that the Trump base just can’t find enough opportunities to scream, “HILLARY!!!” They will be doing it after she is dead. Nobody matters less than Hillary now, and that’s great with me.

                  1. I think what it boils down to is that the Trump base just can’t find enough opportunities to scream, “HILLARY!!!”

                    If it’s true that unverified and insufficient information was used to get a FISA warrant in order to spy on the opposition party during a Presidential campaign, that doesn’t bother you? If such charges are made you would suggest we ignore them?

          2. Because pretending that the Cruz campaign or your average PAC could create as masterful a fiction of a dossier as the Clinton campaign is fucking ludicrous.

    3. Did the FBI know exactly who had paid for the dossier when they included it or did they just know it was opposition research?

      That’s one of the things heavily implied by the memo… but not unequivocally stated. Which leads me to believe that people are being led into a false conclusion.

      1. If the FBI knew it was oppo research but did not disclose that to the court, that is a huge problem, because its nature as oppo research goes directly to its credibility. If they knew it was funded by major elements of the Democratic party but hid that, that is arguably even worse.

        If the FBI did not know the dossier was oppo research, that is definitely worse.

        1. It’s like none of you people read Orin’s post from the other day when he explained that courts reviewing warrant applications generally don’t need to be told that the informants that police rely upon are biased.

          1. It’s like we don’t excuse people for doing rotten things just because rubber stamp courts are ok with them doing it.

            1. Yup. I read one where the affidavit said that they received a tip from a concerned citizen, but didn’t mention that the citizen was an FBI agent. The court was OK with it.

              I love how the left goes all Heather MacDonald when it suits them.

              1. Come on dude – no one on the left here is arguing FISA doesn’t need reform. It’s just that your sudden support for surveillance oversight and reform isn’t actually about that at all.

              2. I suspect the FBI has a problem, and have recorded conversations much more illegally florid, and have, wrongfully, listened in without a warrant. They just can’t get there from here because they have no available evidence that would allow them to crack open, legally, the recorded bomb.

                So should someone take one for the team and release it illegally? But if so, doesn’t that make a mockery of the 4th Amendment, whose purpose is to stop the king from mucking around in the affairs of political opponents until they find something to tag them with, viz opponents in Russia, Venezuela, and so on, who are “ruled ineligible” to run because of such spying?

                So there’s that, and that it could be serious if he had a deal to lift sanctions in exchange for easy platting for skyscrapers in Moscow. And he himself threatened jailing of his opponent, and FISA irregularities, even as he signed a renewal of the law currently hassling him.

            2. Trey Gowdy read the application and he doesn’t think it negatively affects the investigation.

          2. IIUC warrants require corroboration not just a simple accusation from one source yet all the data came from one source including the corroboration.

          3. FISA warrants are not the same as regular warrants.

    4. You’d think that the memo would have noted not simply that that the application never disclosed “the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts,” but that the disclosure that was contained within the application did not meet the punctilious and exacting demands for accuracy, clarity, non-ambiguity, honesty, transparency and absolute exactitude demanded by David Nunes in all things.

  2. Odd that this post is just showing up on my RSS Feed now, even though it was dated February 3.

    Anyway, I really don’t see the issue here. One one member of the Committee was permitted to view the underlying documents. Nunes chose Gowdy, because he thought that Gowdy’s experience as a prosecutor would make him the best person to understand the underlying document. Professor Post is arguing that someone who is not best positioned to review the documents should have been the only Committee member to review them? Seems like an odd position to take.

    1. Yeah, I really don’t understand David Post’s position on this, other than a kind of reflexive Never Trumper mentality. Really not impressed.

    2. I think your RSS feeder might be glitching. The post was just published today (Feb 7) and shows with that date for me.

    3. I agree. On big cases, I might be the partner in charge, but I certainly don’t read every document. And I’m pretty sure that judges, congressmen, corporate executives, etc. don’t read every document, because they wouldn’t have time (or, in this situation, because the task is legally delegated to a particular person). The life of a lawprof might be a little different.

      1. Y81
        What you say is true. But, in the biggest case of your career, with the entire world watching; if you entire defense was based on a statute of limitations lapsing, you ABSOLUTELY WOULD read every page, every document, and yes, every footnote, relating to exactly when the action(s) occurred and to when the statute of limitations started to toll. Right? 🙂

        You would never say, sheepishly, after-the-fact, “Well, now I see that the SOL did not expire. But that information was in a footnote of a document that I did not read.”

        I actually have some sympathy for the (otherwise despicable) Rep. Nunez. The rules simply did not allow him to view the critical documents, and so he relied on the representations of the 3 who were allowed access. That does put him in a tough situation. All the more reason to hold off on the memo until–at the very least–he heard from the Democrats. He would have avoided looking like a fool and/or a liar by showing them that simple courtesy.

        (And *anyone* relying on a “But it was only in a footnote.” excuse should be drummed out of any elected office. We all learned the first week of law school that footnotes often contain the most interesting info in an opinion.” NO ONE would ever skip reading them. And Rep Gowdy, a skilled prosecutor, would never have done so.)

        1. Exactly right … It’s not like there were 500,000 pages to go through; the FISA applications were each apparently some 50 pages in length, with, presumably, some duplicate material. If it’s the biggest case of your career (not to mention a significant moment, possibly, in US history), you should read it before you say what’s missing from it. Period.

          1. Are you saying that this Congressional subcommittee should shirk its oversight responsibilities because the executive branch stonewalls the subcommittee by only allowing one member to read the relevant documents, or that it should issue memos in the name of a single member rather than in the name of the chairperson if the subcommittee wants to communicate its findings?

            Neither of those sound like effective ways to run a subcommittee, but hey, I’ve never even been elected chief Internet dogcatcher.

          2. I almost pity you David.

            Nunes sent a member that was well qualified to examine the affidavit, someone with experience in the process of warrants, etc. It is truly sad that you would have complained about Nunes if he had read the warrant, saying that he does not have the experience to understand it.

    4. I think the point is that Nunes put his credibility on the line and is responsible if the memo is inaccurate, and it looks like the memo is inaccurate. Who specifically read the underlying documents is only important because everyone else has to rely on their interpretation, or read it themself.

  3. The press coverage also made it clear the memo was written by Nunes AND Gowdy, which makes the premise of this entire story — that the author of the memo never read the underlying documents — misleading. Sad to see VC, which is usually non-partisan, pushing this mis-info. Since when does a free speech column advocate for secrecy? While this might not have been too surprising when VC was on WAPO, is this type of hit piece what we should expect with the move to Reason.com?

    1. I agree that the concern that Nunes didn’t see the underlying info, but instead worked with someone who did, isn’t so big a deal as this post indicates.

      But it is something that Gowdy and Nunes don’t seem to be on the same page about the upshot of the memo.

      1. On it’s own that’s not a big issue, but in context I think it’s quite bad.

        Clearly Nunes wrote the memo with the objective of smearing the investigation. If the guy who reviewed the applications was also trying to smear the investigation then you’re now playing a game of telephone where people are trying to spin the message.

        Nunes also refused to let the FBI come in to counter the memo, which suggests that Nunes was trying to deliberately keep himself in the dark so he could misrepresent things to a greater extent.

        There’s also a weird additional consideration. Nunes was part of the Trump transition team and has worked with the administration in handling the investigation. Honestly, if I were the FBI I’d do everything I could to avoid showing Nunes classified information in the investigation since he might leak it back to the guilty parties.

        1. All that is true. And don’t forget Nunes, in coordination with the White House, changed the memo materially from what the committee approved.
          That’s hilariously shady coming from the (supposedly recused) head of oversight. It reads like satire.

          But I do think the main outrage of the OP managed to be the only part of Nunes’ behavior that’s not problematic.

          1. What evidence do you have that the memo changed “materially”, other than via talking points from the Democrats on the committee? It was publicly reported that the FBI/Justice asked for a couple of word changes, and the Democratic members also asked that minor changes be made.

            1. It’s an official

              That’s has a bit more oomph behind it than ‘talking points.’ Going out on a limb like that won’t change your position, naturally.

              1. HTML fail.
                it’s an official letter. Nunes says it’s just grammar and stuff Dems and the FBI asked for. Which doesn’t mean it’s not material…

                The White House coordination part has been verified by the White House, and Nunes is tellingly keeping mum.

                1. But, at the same time, doesn’t mean it IS material. It could be correcting typos for all we know.

                  Except that we know one or more of the changes were actually requested by the Democrats, so it’s kind of rich of them to complain about it.

                  1. It doesn’t matter if Nunes thinks they were inconsequential grammar fixes. The memo was approved by the committee as-is, if you then make changes to the memo you need to re-obtain approval.

                    1. Yeah, that would be a good rule for Congress to adopt, but it’s not the rule they currently operate under.

                  2. If it were all of the changes, I’d have no problems with the complaint (Dems should have gotten a chance to verify the changes addressed their issues), but you need to disclose that you made the request.

                    But that’s not all the changes so…it’s not rich at all.

          2. It’s like you revel in dishonesty. The changes were grammatical changes and one change the FBI requested be made.

            Try honesty sarcastro.

          3. Nunes was CLEARED by the ethics committee regarding that visit and was therefore in-recused (because there was no justification).

            The changes were not substantive, except the ones the FBI and Ds wanted. be honest

        2. The FBI read and even asked for changes to the memo which Nunes granted. During the 5 day period the executive had to review it, the FBI and DoJ read it. Wray even read it prior to release.

          My God man, basic facts go a long way.

          1. My God man, the FBI and DOJ were explicitly not given an opportunity to coordinate on it.

            Talk about basic facts. Your indignation continues to work too hard.

    2. Since when does a free speech column advocate for secrecy?

      Well, Stewart Baker does it all the time, and David Post will do it if it helps a Democrat, and I imagine some of the posters who don’t show up anymore like Lindgren would if it helped a Republican..

    3. It’s typical of David Post, who is a Progressive and has no problem writing propaganda pieces on the VC. We saw it on the WaPo VC when he wrote to support the Houston Mayor violating the Constitutional Rights of pastors, etc.

      1. Yes, Post is no one else’s idea of a libertarian. I mean, Orin isn’t either, but at least he is clear on that fact, and you can trust that he coherently believes everything he writes. Post? It’s all about his hobby horses and whatever it takes to sell them. Of course, nothing wrong with hobby horses, per se, we all have them. But Post doesn’t to understand or care that you need to support your positions with clear thinking and reason, unless you’re just happy to be preaching to the choir. Who knows, maybe he is.

        Anyway, I learned to ignore his posts a long time ago. Still, at least here on Reason.com, the comments can be interesting. (Except for all the old and new commenters who seem to believe that anti-Republican or anti-Trump inherently mean right and true. Or the converse. The inverse too, to be sure.)

    4. Can you link to a story saying that Gowdy wrote the memo?

  4. David,
    Please cite when you use block quotes. The middle block quote is citationless.

    1. I use block quotes as the online equivalent of the footnote or the text box. It’s not always or even often a “quotation” from some third party source; where it is (as in nos. 1 and 3) the text clearly indicates so and gives a link. The middle block quote contains my own text, but it covers material tangential to the main thrust of the piece.

      1. You should stop doing that.

      2. IOW you intentionally mislead the reader. Why am I not surprised.

      3. EV should provide you a copy of his writing style book Academic Legal Writing.

        I realize it’s a blog post not a paper, but you get yourself so worked up when you are writing its hard enough to follow as it is without putting in blockquotes that aren’t quotes.

        1. I think David likes quoting himself then passing it off as something else.

  5. TL:DR

    Relax, its the House of Representatives, at least 375 of them are idiots.

    Nunes Dem counterpart, Schiff, got fooled by a couple of Ukranian pranksters with “hot” info on Trump and Russia. Not to mention Schiff leaks so much you can use him to drain pasta.

    1. I just think he wanted the nude photos of Trump for personal reasons. It’s obvious Schiff has a hard on for Trump.

  6. These are all excellent counter-points, which shows why we need to hear BOTH sides of the story, not just the elitist author’s bias. Comments FTW!

    1. A bunch of cranky, diffusely intolerant, right-wing, bitterly disaffected authoritarians cheering ‘FTW’ to mark another Trump-related win is my favorite type of victory celebration. Perhaps Bud Light should offer a free beer to every person celebrating Devin Nunes’ spectacular victory.

      Is a single lecturer on specialized warrant procedures in these comments a lawyer? My guess: a collection of code writers, backoffice engineers, and third-shift desktop tech supporters.

      Carry on, clingers.

  7. Here I was hoping this doddering old fool was left behind with the deranged lunatic staff at the WAPO.

    1. Nope!
      D.O.F.

  8. David Post, you are a partisan tool.

    “Wouldn’t you think that Rep. Nunes would want to have actually read the documents on which this assertion is (entirely) based?” No, I wouldn’t think that, since only one was allowed to view the document, and Nunes chose Gowdy, who is a sharp former prosecutor, and can competently summarize the document for Nunes.

    I wish this kind of junk, partisan post would not soil VC.

    1. I agree, this post leaves out some vital context that makes it deceptive.

      Who could do such a thing?

      1. I really miss the “ignore user” feature.

        1. Spite is a lame dodge.

          How do you distinguish what Post did from what Nunes did?

          1. Because Post didn’t leave out the fact that Nunes wasn’t allowed to see the memo. The point is that Nunes shouldn’t have wanted to put his credibility on the line with a memo covering something he did not read.

            1. Point taken – in my desire to make a parallel, I threw Post under the bus.

              Though since Nunes worked closely with Gowdy, I’m not bothered that he trusted his colleague enough to sign his name on the final product.

          2. Perhaps because Post hasn’t reviewed the warrant either yet accepts the word of a 3rd party?

            1. Everyone who has read the warrant accepts that it was sufficient for FISA purposes, including Trey Gowdy, and the FISA judges who renewed it long after Steele had already been disavowed by the FBI. This is undisputed.

              1. Sufficient as written however was it written and corroborated using the same source? It appears that the majority of “evidence” and “corroboration” comes from the Fusion GPS dossier whether using Steele, Ohr’s wife, Yahoo News, et.al. as the supposed various sources.

                1. “It appears that the majority of “evidence” and “corroboration”…”

                  You keep insisting on this. The Nunes memo doesn’t say this.

                  1. It appears that the majority of “evidence” and “corroboration” comes from the Fusion GPS dossier?

                    You keep insisting on this. The Nunes memo doesn’t say this.

                    The Grassley referral does:

                    “The bulk of the application consists of allegations against Page that were disclosed to the FBI by Mr. Steele and are also outlined in the Steele dossier. The application appears to contain no additional information corroborating the dossier allegations against Mr. Page, although it does cite to a news article that appears to be sourced to Mr. Steele’s dossier as well.”

              2. Everyone who has read the warrant accepts that it was sufficient for FISA purposes, including Trey Gowdy, and the FISA judges who renewed it long after Steele had already been disavowed by the FBI. This is undisputed.

                Where does Trey Gowdy say that the warrant was sufficient for FISA purposes? His argument is that there was insufficient evidence for a warrant. The allegation is that the FISA judges accepted the application because they were misled about the evidence.

                1. “His argument is that there was insufficient evidence for a warrant.”

                  Gowdy never made this argument. What he’s said is that the dossier was not the exclusive evidence in support of the warrant, and that the Russia investigation proceeds without the dossier because:

                  “To the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. . . The dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos’ meeting in Great Britain. It also doesn’t have anything to do with obstruction of justice.”

                  1. “To the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. . . The dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos’ meeting in Great Britain. It also doesn’t have anything to do with obstruction of justice.”

                    This is Gowdy saying that the memo does not affect the Russia investigation and has no connection to key storylines about the matter. This is not Gowdy saying that “the dossier was not the exclusive evidence in support of the warrant” and it is not Gowdy saying that there was sufficient evidence for the warrant.

  9. Gowdy reviewed the FISA applications and helped draft the memo. What’s the problem?

    And yes, why indeed did they only let one member of Congress review them? After months and months of stonewalling to prevent this information being disclosed? Among a hailstorm of lies denying the very things that have now been revealed? Gee, hurr durr . . .

    Poor David Post is very emotionally invested in this fully baked conspiracy theory, the Collusion Delusion which will surely bring about a coup to overturn our democratic election. How undemocratic and the new favorite word, fascist.

    Counterfeit Elitism
    By Victor Davis Hanson
    “Those damn dairy farmers. Why do they insist on trying to govern? . . .

    Republicans “trust” Devin Nunes, because without his dogged efforts it is unlikely that we would know about the Fusion GPS dossier or the questionable premises on which FISA court surveillance was ordered. Neither would we have known about the machinations of an array of Obama Administration, Justice Department and FBI officials who, in addition to having possibly violated the law in monitoring a political campaign and unmasking and leaking names of Americans to the press, may have colluded with people in the Clinton campaign who funded the Steele dossier. . .”

    Read the whole thing: http://bit.ly/2EtDImN

    1. Republicans “trust” Devin Nunes, because without his dogged efforts it is unlikely that we would know about the Fusion GPS dossier or the questionable premises on which FISA court surveillance was ordered

      This puts the cart before the horse. You don’t care about FISA. Republicans created the program, and literally just voted to extend it.

      Republicans like Nunes because he provides cover against the FBI investigation. That this cover takes the form of arguing a largely collateral FISA warrant is based on ‘questionable premises’ is more or less immaterial.

      Call it what you like, but it ain’t trust, or even “trust,” it’s tribalism.

      1. Republicans did not create FISA. Wikipedia says the bill was introduced in the Senate by Ted Kennedy, passed the House on a heavily party-line vote (Dems 214 yea-38 nay-34 no vote, Repubs 32-90-24), and was signed into law by President Carter.

        And to think I used to give you credit for being reasonably informed on things.

        1. Neat info, but please check the Protect America Act of 2007, which updated and expanded the FISA program.

          1. Dems controlled Congress in 2007 too.

          2. So it is largely irrelevant that Carter and a Democratic Congress enacted FISA, given that Bush II and a Democratic Congress modified it?

            Which part of the Protect America Act of 2007 should I check? The part that put a 180-day sunset on its provisions? Those provisions were reauthorized in both 2008 and 2012. For someone who complained in this very thread about misleading partial disclosures, you sure seem inclined to them.

          3. So it is largely irrelevant that Carter and a Democratic Congress enacted FISA, given that Bush II and a Democratic Congress modified it?

            Which part of the Protect America Act of 2007 should I check? The part that put a 180-day sunset on its provisions? Those provisions were reauthorized in both 2008 and 2012. For someone who complained in this very thread about misleading partial disclosures, you sure seem inclined to them.

          4. So it is largely irrelevant that Carter and a Democratic Congress enacted FISA, given that Bush II and a Democratic Congress modified it?

            Which part of the Protect America Act of 2007 should I check? The part that put a 180-day sunset on its provisions? Those provisions were reauthorized in both 2008 and 2012. For someone who complained in this very thread about misleading partial disclosures, you sure seem inclined to them.

            1. For the sake of argument, I’ll concede that I overstated that Republicans created FISA (though the Bush Admin really did shape it’s current form).

              That does not change the fact that the GOP has turned on a dime from voting for FISA to saying it’s full of abuses.

              1. That is really not what the GOP people are saying. They are saying that the FBI and DOJ, and in particular people who were appointed or rose to high positions under the Obama administration, abused the FISA process to secure the Carter Page warrants.

                Sure, we should take such politically charged assertions with a grain of salt, but there is a certain level of consistency in “our guys used these rules the right way, your guys abused them”.

          5. You’re slipping Sarcastro.

            Democrats took almost bulletproof control of Congress during Bush’s last two years including one Sen. Obama!

        2. Would you like to know why so many Republicans were cold to the FISA?

      2. In the context of the article, the author was just responding to some pinhead commentator who used that word.

        “Those damn dairy farmers. Why do they insist on trying to govern? Or, put another way:

        Why are Republicans trusting Devin Nunes to be their oracle of truth!? A former dairy farmer who House intel staffers refer to as Secret Agent Man because he has no idea what’s going on.

        Thus spoke MSNBC panelist, Yale graduate, former Republican “strategist,” and Bush administration speechwriter Elise Jordan.”

        I don’t really care what you want to say about “Republicans.” I think we have a problem with our intelligence agencies and their surveillance of everything. FISA warrants are probably just the tip of the iceberg, you also have “incidental” collection and bulk data collection, unmasking, etc, I suspect they collect just about everything. Every. Thing.

        http://bit.ly/2qUQ2EV
        http://bit.ly/2EQ4FPe

        1. Republicans are trusting Nunes to be their oracle of truth because he’s telling them what they want to hear.

          I’m not thrilled by Jordan’s credentialism, but it is kinda amusing your response is to ding him for going to Yale. Your know-nothingism is the same thing, reversed, and made dumber.
          =================
          I would agree with you about our problem with surveilling everything if I thought for a moment it was anything other than a convenient straw you were grasping.
          But this isn’t about surveillance reform, it’s about straining to make Trump a victim.

          1. It’s obvious by your blather that you haven’t begun to comprehend VDH’s meaning. Anyway, yeah, bad faith, politics, etc. Wake me up when you find the criminal Trump/Russia collusion that everyone is trying to cover up and “obstruct justice” for. Or the probable cause to investigate the same.

            1. It’s not just an accusation of bad faith – the timing and specificity of your concerns make it manifest.

              Thus in my opinion VDH’s column is rationalizing eyewash, right down to the anti-elitism paean.

              Probably cause is about arrest, not about whether you get to investigate.
              No signs yet of what will be found, if anything – Mueller runs a tight ship.

              1. Every other day, there is a new leak about what Mueller has found, who he is focused on now, what he’s interested in, what he’s doing or about to do etc. And yet, there are all of these mindless sycophants across the media grossly fetishizing Mueller and engaging in all sorts of hysterics — including endlessly repeating a baseless claim that there are zero leaks from team Mueller. Just as one example of many, I saw this sentence in Slate: “The special counsel’s office has been admirably and remarkably leak-free.” Never any explanation, just straight-faced Bolshevik style propagandizing.

                Probable cause is not just about arrests, it is about warrants for surveillance as well. Do you get tired of making up erroneous claims?

                1. Speculations based on who Mueller has publically talked to or plans to talk to is not a leak.

                  How about you cite some leaks before you call me a Bolshevik?

                  Probably cause is for searches as well. It is not what you need ‘to investigate,’ however. So you remain incorrect.

                  1. Not calling you a Bolshevik. Just the “journalists” whose assertions you blindly accept as fact. Whether the Mueller team is “leak free” is absolutely unknowable to them, yet they carry on. A quick search shows that Gowdy and others on the other side have suggested the Mueller team may be leaking, I don’t know if that has merit either. As for probable cause I was of course referring to the investigative actions that require it.

              2. “Probably cause is about arrest, not about whether you get to investigate.”

                Probable cause is needed for more than just arrests. Probable cause is also needed for searches for and seizures of evidence. The amount of investigating that can be done absent probable cause is quite limited.

                1. Where do you get the idea that you need searches to do any kind of investigation?!
                  Mueller’s having a ball with interviews and information requests; neither of those require probable cause.

                  1. “Where do you get the idea that you need searches to do any kind of investigation?!”

                    That isn’t what I said at all.

                    “Mueller’s having a ball with interviews and information requests;”

                    And as far as I can tell getting nowhere.

                    None of the charges filed so far have any relation at all the the Trump presidential campaign.

    2. The memo didn’t reveal anything, it asserted. The memo asserts that the court filing did not contain certain things, and now there are conflicting reports about that. No matter who read the underlying documents, if the memo inaccurately portrays them, it hurts the credibility of the memo and its author. simple, right?

      1. Precisely.

        1. Nunes’ efforts have led to many revelations that some parties denied and worked furiously to conceal. For example, who commissioned the dossier.

          1. Haha.

            The memo cannot fail, it can only be failed.

        2. So conflicting reports you agree with prove your assertion of the dishonesty of the person you disagree with? You’re a joke Mr. post. Go read the footnote mentions in the Senate indictment today. They back up Nunes. But you won’t because it didn’t make it to media matters.

        3. More like imprecisely.

          You assume that the Democrat/Schiff memo is accurate while accusing the Nunes memo of inaccuracy. IOW you accuse Nunes of your own actions, aka projection. I would also note that the Senate memo has already shown that many of the complaints in the Dem memo are outright fabrications and prevarications.

        4. so if the author of this article left out key facts we should question his credibility?

          What about the Grassley memo? are you OK with the FBI spying on political candidates using the opposing candidate’s materials?

      2. That’s a great argument to declassify the warrants, no?

        1. or not to put out some bullshit memo? maybe?

  10. “Now the WSJ Editorial Board looks, collectively, like a moron.”

    To be fair, most committees are morons.

    The general intelligence of a committee is roughly equal to the average individual intelligence of the members divided by the number of members of the committee.

    1. PS

      Congress is a committee with over 500 members. That explains a few things. 🙂

      1. Damn it, I miss the like button!

  11. ? FISA requires that any evidence presented to a judge in support of a FISA application be verified.
    ? The Steele dossier was presented in support of a FISA application.
    ? The Steele dossier was conceded to be unverified.

    FISA requires that before a FISA warrant on a United States person is issued, evidence must be presented not only that the target is acting on behalf of a foreign power, but also that the target committed a crime.

    If the only evidence of this was contained in a dossier characterized by the Director of the FBI and believed at the time of the application to be “unverified,” then aren’t issues of public concerned raised by these facts alone? Even if the FBI now wishes to dispute the reliability of the dossier, the truth of the matter is that it was not verified at the time of the application. When saying that Nunes “didn’t care about the truth,” what truth could this logically be?

    If the “truth” is that the Director of the FBI did not speak the truth about whether the dossier was verified, then that also is an issue of public concern.

    1. FISA requires that any evidence presented to a judge in support of a FISA application be verified.
      Where did you get this?

      The Steele dossier was conceded to be unverified
      The dossier as a whole may be unverified, but parts have been. Some of the verified parts are about Carter Page.

      If the only evidence of [criminality] was contained in a dossier
      That’s a helluva if.

      If the “truth” is that the Director of the FBI did not speak the truth about whether the dossier was verified
      Also a helluva if. One that thusfar has zero evidence to support it. It is also kind of ridiculous if you think about it. You don’t get to gin up an issue of public concern just by your own furious speculation.

      1. “You don’t get to gin up an issue of public concern just by your own furious speculation.”

        Why not? Politicians do it all the time. 🙂

        1. It sucks when they do it, and it sucks when swood1000 does it.

      2. why do you assume that all the evidence in the FISA filing came out of the Steele dossier and that the FBI did no additional investigation before relying on it in front of DOJ and FISC?

        1. Because they’d have nothing to whine about if they didn’t make that enormous assumption.

          But don’t worry . . . if it turns out that there *was* supporting evidence outside the dossier, it will be weeks or months later, and no one will notice or call out anyone who spewed that B.S. in Jan or Feb of 2018.

      3. To those who doubt that information presented to a FISA judge must be verified, see this explanation of the “Woods Procedures” by FBI Director Mueller.

        The FISA Verification Procedures (the so-called “Woods Procedures”) were instituted in April 2001 in order to minimize factual inaccuracies in FISA packages.

        Some of the verified parts are about Carter Page.

        The Director of the FBI called it “unverified.” What is your source that contradicts this?

        [continued]

        1. He said some of the material in the dossier was “unverified and salacious.” He did not refer to the dossier as a whole as unverified or salacious.

          http://www.politifact.com/trut…..le-dossie/

          1. He said some of the material in the dossier was “unverified and salacious.” He did not refer to the dossier as a whole as unverified or salacious.

            No, he didn’t say that “some of” the material was unverified. He said:

            “The IC leadership thought it important, for a variety of reasons, to alert the incoming President to the existence of this material, even though it was salacious and unverified.”

            Politifact concludes that since “this material” doesn’t necessarily refer to the entire dossier it’s more reasonable to assume it refers to less than the entire dossier. Whether Politifact’s judgment is influenced by political considerations I’ll leave for others, but it appears that it was the dossier that Comey came to discuss with Trump, and it seems reasonable to suppose that “this material” referred to the dossier. However, I admit that “unverified” may have referred only to those specific parts of the dossier that were salacious and that Comey was just trying to be quick to say that of course we don’t believe any of this defamation, Mr. President.

            It’s clear that Nunes believes that the evidence supplied in the FISA request was not sufficient to support the granting of the request. I’m sure there is plenty more about this that we are going to find out. Until then we’re in the dark.

          2. Exactly how does one brief the president — and presumably emphasize that the dossier was “unverified and salacious” — or testify before Congress using that phrase, without also disclosing that the dossier was trustworthy enough to form an integral part of a FISA warrant application against a member of Trump’s campaign staff? Particularly when the briefer/testifier personally signed off on at least one such application?

            1. “there is a dossier that the FBI has come into contact with. it contains a bunch of salacious and unverified material, and the main thrust of it is that Russian intelligence has been seeking for years to recruit you, Mr President. You are not the target of the investigation, but there is an ongoing investigation into the dossier, its claims and its provenance.”

              1. Why do you claim someone investigated the dossier or its provenance? Where is the admission that the FBI and DOJ thought the dossier was trustworthy enough to use it as the basis for FISA warrant applications to surveil members of the president’s campaign, presumably including contacts and perhaps conversations with other people in the campaign?

                I didn’t want an example of what someone would say to mislead the president or Congress by that material omission, I wanted an explanation of why anyone would think it would be appropriate to gloss over that rather large and significant aspect.

        2. Nobody has alleged that the FISA application did not comply with the Woods Procedures.

          1. Nobody has alleged that the FISA application did not comply with the Woods Procedures.

            I think that’s exactly what the memo is intending to allege.

            1. Then the memo should say that, and not rely on worthies such as yourself to strain to connect the dots.

            2. Why wouldn’t it just say “the FISA application did not comply with the Woods Procedures” then? And if it didn’t comply with the Woods Procedures, why would the FISA judge have authorized it in the first place? When Rod Rosenstein submitted it for renewal, do you think he wasn’t complying with the Woods Procedures? But the memo speaks for itself. Instead of saying the original warrant was unverified, it said that corroboration of the dossier was in its infancy.

              The simplest explanation is that the original warrant complied with the Woods Procedures. If it didn’t, Nunes would be all over that failure, and would state that explicitly.

              1. Then the memo should say that, and not rely on worthies such as yourself to strain to connect the dots.

                The simplest explanation is that the original warrant complied with the Woods Procedures. If it didn’t, Nunes would be all over that failure, and would state that explicitly.

                Look, the Woods Procedures require that the information in the FISA application be verified. According to the Nunes memo, the information was not verified:

                “According to the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, Assistant Director Bill Priestap, corroboration of the Steele dossier was in its “infancy” at the time of the initial Page FISA application. After Steele was terminated, a source validation report conducted by an independent unit within FBI assessed Steele’s reporting as only minimally corroborated.”

                What else would Nunes be claiming?

                1. He would be claiming that: The only basis for the FISC warrant was unverified information, which would be true only if Steele’s reporting was not corroborated at all (as opposed to “minimally corroborated”) and there was no other information in the FISC warrant to support it besides the Steele dossier. Importantly, the Nunes memo never says: “The FISC warrant was based entirely on the Steele dossier”.

                  1. He would be claiming that: The only basis for the FISC warrant was unverified information, which would be true only if Steele’s reporting was not corroborated at all (as opposed to “minimally corroborated”)

                    It is reasonable to suppose that what the memo meant by “minimally corroborated” and “corroboration?in its infancy” was corroboration falling short of what is meant by “verified.”

                    1. Not really. The accusation is that the FISC warrant relied on information in the Steele dossier that was unverified. Assume the Steele dossier contained information A, B, and C. Corroboration of A, B, and C could be in its infancy. The FBI could have verified A but not B or C. The FBI includes A in its FISC warrant (because A is verified) but does not rely on B or C. The “minimally corroborated” would be reference to A but not B or C. And if A is all that is relied on in the FISC warrant, then there isn’t anything unverified on which the FISC warrant relies.

                      If the Nunes memo wanted to say that the FISC warrant relied on unverified information in contravention of the Woods Procedures, it could say so. Importantly, it doesn’t.

                    2. If the Nunes memo wanted to say that the FISC warrant relied on unverified information in contravention of the Woods Procedures, it could say so. Importantly, it doesn’t.

                      I say that the intent of the memo was to assert that the evidence was insufficiently verified. You reply that the information was not insufficiently verified. These are two different things, the assertion and whether the assertion is true.

                      The only reason to use the term “minimally corroborated” is to say that there is a problem with the corroboration. You seem to be putting a lot of store by the fact that the memo doesn’t say “as required by the procedures,” something that is obvious to all.

          2. One, before this memo came out, almost nobody who read that would understand what it meant, and most of those would not care. Two, and much more significant, the Woods procedures were created to prevent certain accuses of the FISA process, and the allegations are that those kinds of abuses actually occurred. That’s more significant than a technical violation of procedures, and so the memo rightly focuses on the more serious matter.

            1. “…the Woods procedures were created to prevent certain a[b]uses of the FISA process, and the allegations are that those kinds of abuses actually occurred….”

              No, the allegations relate to bias (rather than lack of verification). Biased sources can be verified. No one has alleged that the original warrant violated the Woods Procedures.

              1. No, the allegations relate to bias (rather than lack of verification). Biased sources can be verified. No one has alleged that the original warrant violated the Woods Procedures.

                The memo clearly refers to both bias and a lack of verification.

                1. But it never says the FISC warrant contained unverified information. It says the FISC warrant relied on the Steele Dossier, which included unverified information. Those aren’t the same thing.

                  1. But it never says the FISC warrant contained unverified information. It says the FISC warrant relied on the Steele Dossier, which included unverified information. Those aren’t the same thing.

                    If the FISC warrant relied on the Steele dossier, and the Steele dossier included unverified information, then the FISC warrant relied on unverified information.

                    Furthermore, according to the Grassley referral, besides the Steele dossier “The application appears to contain no additional information corroborating the dossier allegations against Mr. Page…”

      4. [continued from above]

        If the “truth” is that the Director of the FBI did not speak the truth about whether the dossier was verified

        Also a helluva if. One that thus far has zero evidence to support it. It is also kind of ridiculous if you think about it. You don’t get to gin up an issue of public concern just by your own furious speculation.

        Look, I’m responding to Post’s assertion that Nunes could have had no reason for thinking that nothing the FBI could add would change the fact that wrongdoing was done here, proving that Nunes didn’t care about the truth. If some quite reasonable facts were true (which nobody without a security clearance knows) then Nunes was correct. If the dossier was unverified as to Carter Page and if there was no evidence relating to crimes of Carter Page outside of the dossier (both of which would be known by Nunes) then Post’s claim that he didn’t care about the truth is dead wrong.

        I’m not supposing that these things are true. I’m saying that Post is dishonest in assuming (without evidence) that they are false, and in asserting that a proper evaluation of the known evidence necessarily leads to the conclusion that Nunes didn’t care about the truth.

        1. If it comes out that the FISA filing had information disclosing that the Steele dossier was oppo research created starting in June 2016 and that the FBI had additional basis for suspicion, would you agree that would support the conclusion that Nunes doesn’t care about the truth?

          1. If it comes out that the FISA filing had information disclosing that the Steele dossier was oppo research created starting in June 2016 and that the FBI had additional basis for suspicion, would you agree that would support the conclusion that Nunes doesn’t care about the truth?

            Yes, if there was evidence outside the dossier, included with the FISA application, that would support the granting of the application, then I would agree that Nunes doesn’t care about the truth.

            But if that evidence existed, then why did McCabe testify before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information (assuming what the memo says about that is true)?

            1. The counterintelligence investigation was supposedly opened after an Australian diplomat told some intelligence or law enforcement agency that Papadopolous said Russia had Hillary’s emails, after they started being released in the press. The dossier came to the FBI later. Maybe receiving such information from a previously trusted source caused them to take that investigation more seriously and expand it? And they checked some of the specific claims against other info they already had? And it checked out, and then they put it in the FISC filing?

              I don’t know if any of this is accurate, but it’s a story, and I think it’s reasonable, and it’s mutually exclusive with Nunes’ contention that the dossier alone was the basis for the warrant application.

              1. A counter intelligence operation that didn’t focus on George until near inauguration. You don’t find it odd to open an investigation but only interview people who don’t interact with the intended target? George and page said they have never met.

                1. I imagine there are some details that are not public knowledge, but if the investigation wraps up and there’s no there there, I owe you a coke.

        2. I’m not “assuming they are false.” I don’t know whether they are, and you don’t know whether they are. They might be; they might not be. What I’m saying is that the inclusion of these assertions of FBI misbehavior in the Nunes memo not only does not “prove” that they’re true; it doesn’t even increase the likelihood that they are true, because Nunes has shown he doesn’t care whether or not they are true. In years past, if the House Intelligence Committee released a memo saying the FBI did X, Y, and Z, I would have revised my estimate of the likelihood that the FBI had actually done X, Y, and Z upward, because I would have trusted that the Committee knew what it was talking about, and had looked at the evidence and reached its conclusion. Remember those days?

          You write: “If some quite reasonable facts were true (which nobody without a security clearance knows) then Nunes was correct. If the dossier was unverified as to Carter Page and if there was no evidence relating to crimes of Carter Page outside of the dossier … then Post’s claim that he didn’t care about the truth is dead wrong.”

          That is nonsense – triple nonsense, actually. [cont’d below]

          1. First, your logic doesn’t work: even if some of the assertions ARE true, that doesn’t prove that he cares about the truth. If I make something up and put it in a court pleading – “there was a major snowstorm in Chicago on Jan. 14, 2010” – and it turns out to be true, that doesn’t prove that I care about the truth.

            Second, there almost certainly WAS evidence “relating to crimes of Carter Page outside of the dossier.” We know that now, even though Nunes wants you to believe otherwise: the FBI was compiling information information about Page’s meetings with Russian operatives starting in 2013, and surely they included all that in the FISA application (in addition to whatever was in the Steele Dossier). [See comment from David Nieporent below, and http://tinyurl.com/yc48lujp%5D
            And third bit of nonsense: where did you get the idea that all information in a FISA warrant application has to be “verified”?

            1. What I’m saying is that the inclusion of these assertions of FBI misbehavior in the Nunes memo not only does not “prove” that they’re true; it doesn’t even increase the likelihood that they are true. ?First, your logic doesn’t work: even if some of the assertions ARE true, that doesn’t prove that he cares about the truth.

              Don’t you bear the burden of proving that Nunes’s statements are not true and that he does not care about the truth?

              because Nunes has shown he doesn’t care whether or not they are true.

              But how has Nunes shown this?

              Second, there almost certainly WAS evidence “relating to crimes of Carter Page outside of the dossier.”

              Is that consistent with this:

              Furthermore, 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.

              [continued]

            2. [continued from above]

              And third bit of nonsense: where did you get the idea that all information in a FISA warrant application has to be “verified”?

              See this explanation of the “Woods Procedures” by then FBI Director Mueller.

              The FISA Verification Procedures (the so-called “Woods Procedures”) were instituted in April 2001 in order to minimize factual inaccuracies in FISA packages.

              Starting March 1, 2003, field offices are now required to follow a standard format, distributed as an eight-page FISA request form. The form elicits information about the target’s status, the facts and circumstances that establish probable cause to believe the target is an agent of a foreign power, and particulars about the facilities and places to be targeted and the minimization procedures to be employed. The form also requires confirmation that field offices have verified the accuracy of facts alleged in the form. [emphasis added]

              1. Nunes has never said that the FISA application lacked the form you’re referencing.

                1. You misread. The point of my post is that the accuracy of the facts alleged on the FISA request form must have been verified, contrary to the assertion of Mr. Post.

        3. Relying on the fact that something is classified to speculate yourself into a conspiracy is not actually proving your conspiracy.

          1. I’m not trying to prove a conspiracy.

            1. Sure seems like you are – a conspiracy of FBI leaders against Trump. Trying to sabotage him via leaks, FISA abuses, unmaskings, and a fake probably illegal investigation, even!

              What are you trying to argue?

          2. But it is totes legit to speculate about a classified footnote to convince yourself that Nunes and this memo are parts of a conspiracy to discredit the Mueller investigation?

          3. Yet that is exactly what David is doing in his article, relying on the fact that something is classified to write that Nunes lied is not actually proving Nunes lied.

    2. ? FISA requires that any evidence presented to a judge in support of a FISA application be verified.

      No.

      If the only evidence of this was contained in a dossier characterized by the Director of the FBI and believed at the time of the application to be “unverified,”

      If. But what possible reason could there be to think that the dossier was the only evidence against Page? It was reported, so far without contradiction, that the supporting documentation for the warrant application was roughly 50 pages. This is typical for FISA warrants. (Regular warrant applications are cursory.) The Page part of the dossier was only a handful of pages. That leaves a lot of room, either for doodling or for additional supporting evidence.

      1. “No.” Not sure about FISA itself, but apparently there are some rules called the “Woods Procedures.” http://bit.ly/2EHQETH

        “What possible reason . . ” There is McCabe’s testimony that without the dossier (unverified according the Comey), there would be no warrant. I guess we’ll know more soon enough.

      2. ? FISA requires that any evidence presented to a judge in support of a FISA application be verified.

        No.

        If. But what possible reason could there be to think that the dossier was the only evidence against Page?

        See my answer to Sarcast0 above. What reason does Post have for concluding that it was not, and that therefore Nunes necessarily didn’t care about the truth and that we can safely conclude that his actions were disgraceful.

        1. Well, if Nunez cared about the truth, then would he not have eagerly welcomed input from the FBI and/or DOJ before sending the memo to the White House? Why intentionally refuse to get this potentially-helpful information? If the committee had listened to what the FBI said and then discounted or ignored it; that would be one thing. But to deliberately stick one’s head in the sand . . .

          At the very least, it made him look uber partisan. And, yes, less than honest.

          1. Well, if Nunez cared about the truth, then would he not have eagerly welcomed input from the FBI and/or DOJ before sending the memo to the White House?

            As I said above, I assume that Nunes knows of facts that support his actions, and such facts are not difficult to imagine. I guess the FBI could have two objections: (a) there was no FISA abuse, and (b) the harm to national security by the disclosure of FISA abuse would exceed the benefit in bringing about FISA reform and in bringing wrongdoers to justice.

            It would be reasonable to suppose that Nunes had already, through official committee procedures, asked the FBI for facts that would support such objections and that the response he had received was unsatisfactory. If the FISA application depended on the dossier and the FBI had already admitted that the dossier was unverified then Nunes just had to weigh the importance of the disclosure of FISA abuse against FBI assertions that disclosure of FISA abuse would harm national security.

            Furthermore, during the five days that the President had to review the memo the FBI had an opportunity to make their case, as they still do.

            1. Swood,
              For a normal Republican (or Democrat), I think I’d likely agree with you that it would be reasonable to assume that Rep Nunes had asked the FBI for supporting facts. But I absolutely cannot see how you give Nunes the benefit of the doubt–did not his unethical behavior (re running to the White House to pick up ‘evidence’ and having a misleading and dishonest press conference about this evidence) show all of us that he cannot be trusted on this matter? Or, at the very least; that he should be given the chance to demonstrate honest behavior but not given a rebuttable assumption?

              I mean; if it comes out that Hillary Clinton has a brand new set of 30,000 missing emails, and she claims innocence, I’d have to be crazy to just assume she’s telling the truth. I think she is honest about most things, but has proven to be, um, unreliable regarding what is or is not on her private server. She has this history . . . therefore, she now has the burden of proof for any claims she makes about these things.

              Same should go for Nunes. “You say X about the Russia investigation? Okay, show me your factual support for X. You say Not-Y about the investigation? Okay, show me the facts supporting the falsity of Y or the non-existence of Y.”

              That seems reasonable to me.

              1. Same for Schiff after all his leaks and lies yet Post relies on him to counter Nunes memo.

              2. santamonica811:

                For a normal Republican (or Democrat), I think I’d likely agree with you that it would be reasonable to assume that Rep Nunes had asked the FBI for supporting facts. But I absolutely cannot see how you give Nunes the benefit of the doubt

                When I say that Nunes probably first asked the FBI for supporting facts I am not saying that this is what an honest person would do, and Nunes is honest so this is what he did. I am saying that this is what any rational person would do, honest or otherwise, in order to avoid the embarrassment of having the FBI later say things that weren’t anticipated. First find out everything the FBI and DOJ can say in their own defense. Then take action. Any other course of action just doesn’t make sense.

        2. Nunes never says that. On the other hand, Gowdy has said the opposite.

    3. If the “truth” is that the Director of the FBI did not speak the truth about whether the dossier was verified, then that also is an issue of public concern.

      If.

      But if that’s the case, it’s odd that the Nunes memo didn’t say so.

      1. If the “truth” is that the Director of the FBI did not speak the truth about whether the dossier was verified, then that also is an issue of public concern.

        If.

        But if that’s the case, it’s odd that the Nunes memo didn’t say so.

        It would seem more odd to me for Nunes to complain about faulty evidence in the FISA application if there also was included evidence good enough on its own to justify granting the application. But this seems exceedingly unlikely if the following statement from the memo is true:

        Furthermore, 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.

        1. Do you see how one might distinguish between ‘we wouldn’t have sought a warrant’ and ‘we couldn’t have supported a warrant?’

          One has to do with the path of an investigation; the other has to do with the quantum of evidence.

          1. Do you see how one might distinguish between ‘we wouldn’t have sought a warrant’ and ‘we couldn’t have supported a warrant?’

            One has to do with the path of an investigation; the other has to do with the quantum of evidence.

            Why would the FBI not have sought a warrant if they had evidence sufficient to support a warrant? It seems that the natural conclusion is that they would have sought the warrant, and that the burden is on the person arguing the contrary to support it with some rationale.

            1. This is exactly my point.

              The FBI did seek a warrant because they had sufficient evidence to support it.

              However, if they did not have the dossier to tell them were to inquire, they would not have known the warrant was useful, and thus would not have sought sufficient evidence to support it.

              1. This is exactly my point.

                The FBI did seek a warrant because they had sufficient evidence to support it.

                But we know that often law enforcement will want a wiretap because they are “sure” that the target is guilty but they can’t get a warrant because they don’t have sufficient evidence. So the desire for a warrant doesn’t necessarily flow from available evidence. It could flow from something as simple as those much higher in the organization having political motivations that could be satisfied if a certain kind of dirt could be found as a result of a wiretap. One possible motivation might be an appointment to higher office. Another might be the desire to derail a dangerous politician.

                1. Look at what you have done. You are now moving into general things that are sometimes true about law enforcement, and moving from there to speculations about possible reasons why someone might want a warrant that are not investigatory.

                  That other things could be true does not mean the normal explanation is false. This is Art Bell territory.

                  And none of it addresses the post you are replying to.

                  1. Again I ask: what are you trying to argue?

                    What do you think is going on, and what do you hope Trump does about it?

                    1. Look at what you have done. You are now moving into general things that are sometimes true about law enforcement, and moving from there to speculations about possible reasons why someone might want a warrant that are not investigatory.

                      All I’m doing is contradicting your assertion that the fact that the FBI sought a warrant is reason for us to believe that they had sufficient evidence to get one. Law enforcement often wants a warrant for reasons apart from how much evidence they have. That is what is being alleged here ? that the FBI misled the FISA judge as to the strength of the evidence they were presenting.

                      What do you think is going on, and what do you hope Trump does about it?

                      I think that there was FISA abuse and I want them to change the required FISA procedures so that this can’t happen so easily. Maybe there should be a rule that if the FISA target is associated with a domestic political campaign you need to present it to a panel of three FISA judges. Also if it turns out that there was intentional wrongdoing, heads should roll.

                2. “But we know that often law enforcement will want a wiretap because they are “sure” that the target is guilty but they can’t get a warrant because they don’t have sufficient evidence. So the desire for a warrant doesn’t necessarily flow from available evidence. It could flow from something as simple as those much higher in the organization having political motivations that could be satisfied if a certain kind of dirt could be found as a result of a wiretap. . . . Another [possible motivation] might be the desire to derail a dangerous politician.”

                  Yes, Richard Nixon is the entire reason we have a FISC in the first place. That’s why FISA warrants have to be submitted to an independently appointed judge, with oversight by a bipartisan congressional committee, rather than Nixon and Hoover just getting together over drinks.

        2. There is a memo that states that the Nunes memo is lying about McCabe’s testimony. The people who have said that Nunes is lying have requested an opportunity to present their memo. Nunes himself has said he’s open to releasing the transcript, so we’ll get to the bottom of that statement, hopefully.

    4. “If the only evidence of this was contained in a dossier characterized by the Director of the FBI and believed at the time of the application to be ‘unverified,’ then aren’t issues of public concerned raised by these facts alone?”

      If it isn’t true that “the only evidence [that Carter Page looked like he was acting on behalf of a foreign government] was contained in a dossier…,” and Chairman Nunes released a memo trying to create the opposite impression, that would make him a liar. Putting the word “truth” in bold doesn’t mean Nunes’ assertions in the memo are true.

      1. If it isn’t true that “the only evidence [that Carter Page looked like he was acting on behalf of a foreign government]

        For a United State person (such as Carter Page) to be the “Agent of a foreign power” he has to also either have committed a criminal act or be in conspiracy with some other agent of a foreign power. See 50 U.S. Code ? 1801(b)(2)

        was contained in a dossier…,” and Chairman Nunes released a memo trying to create the opposite impression, that would make him a liar. Putting the word “truth” in bold doesn’t mean Nunes’ assertions in the memo are true.

        Agreed.

        1. Fair enough to note the standard. I’ve heard plenty of evidence that suggests Page could easily be in conspiracy with other agents of foreign powers, but this is as yet unproven.

  12. It is interesting that most of the comments focus on my first point – the “not reading the documents” point – rather than the one I said was much worse (the “not letting the FBI explain what happened” point). I still haven’t seen a single credible or remotely persuasive argument that that was appropriate behavior, or anything that casts doubt on my conclusion that it demonstrates Nunes’ contempt for, or indifference to, the truth.

    1. To come to that conclusion, you’d first have to assume that the FBI would tell the truth when responding to an allegation that it behaved improperly. If you think that the FBI would be more likely to tell the truth in this case, you’re an even bigger moron than you believe Nunes to be.

    2. To come to that conclusion, you’d first have to assume that the FBI would tell the truth when responding to an allegation that it behaved improperly. If you think that the FBI would be more likely to tell the truth in this case, you’re an even bigger moron than you believe Nunes to be.

    3. Oh come on Prof Post! The reason Nunes didn’t let the FBI see the memo beforehand was his concern that they would have leaked all sorts of stuff to their friendly press to dilute and undermine the memo before the public ever saw it. Maybe you think that’s not a legitimate concern, that the FBI never leaks anything to the press, or acts in its own self-defense. Fine, make that argument, but don’t pretend that this concern never occurred to you.

      1. You deal with leaks as they come; you don’t stonewall the organization you’re purportedly trying to reform.

        Of course, your concerns about dilution and undermining are political concerns, which might explain why the stonewalling was the rout taken.

      2. This explanation makes no sense. If the FBI is going to leak information that will undermine the Nunes memo, the best time to do that will be after the Nunes memo is released to the public. If they leak the information before Nunes shares it with the public, he could have amended the memo to address the leaks, before releasing the memo to the public.

        It’s far more plausible that the reason Nunes didn’t release the memo to the FBI beforehand is because if they responded to the committee with damning information, the Democrats would use that rebuttal as a (perfectly logical) basis for arguing against release of the Nunes memo. I think he miscalculated, since he now has to argue that the public shouldn’t hear from Democrats or the FBI, after insisting that they must hear from him. But we’ll see.

        1. That is a spectacularly dumb argument to make given that the HPSCI voted to release the Democratic response memo. Nunes has not (yet) said anything remotely like “the public shouldn’t hear from Democrats or the FBI”.

          1. And we will see what the Democrats’ memo says, if the White House authorizes it (or if they just release it, if the White House doesn’t).

    4. You are speculating about the private motives of a person you do not know, and YOU have the gall to conclude that your imaginings are proof of “Nunes’ contempt for, or indifference to, the truth”?

      Now, I have no evidence, but I’m going to speculate that you don’t actually care if Nunes cares about the truth, you just want to rant and rave about something that shows you may be wrong. I have yet to see anything that casts doubt on my conclusion that you, David Post, are absolutely indifferent to, or contemptuous of, the truth.

      1. Post does go into his reasoning. You may agree with it or not.
        You, however, do not.

        1. Reasoning is not evidence. I display as much reasoning (in my sarcistic post) as Post did in his rant. Which was kind of the point – using a few phrases copied from him, I demonstrated that evidence free reasoning is neither evidence or proof. You, however, failed to grasp that.

          Post assumes that a priori that Nunes is lying, and this colors everything he says. Leaving out the embarrassing “moron”s, “goddamn”s, or other petty insults, there is not a trace of actual evidence left.

          Notice how often Post resorts to his opinion as if it were fact. Says that Nunes should have “[gotten] the damned documents” when he was NOT LEGALLY ABLE TO because the FBI was stonewalling, and then using that claim to defend the FBI is an excellent example of the ignorance and bias of this rant.
          In his ignorant mind, it seems so simple. He probably also asks, how can rocket science be hard? It’s just burning stuff in a container with a hole in one end. Why should the SpaceX launch and landing be impressive?

          1. Reasoning is evidence. You aren’t engaged in reasoning, though. Your argument is logically inconsistent because you condemn Post for questioning someone’s credibility absent evidence, and then immediately question Post’s absent evidence.

            1. Conspiracy theorist engage in reasoning. It still isn’t evidence, and it doesn’t make their conspiracies true.

              Evidence is facts. Post fails to present any, but instead claims his opinions are facts.
              I demonstrated that is a faulty line of argument, because it works exactly as well when turned against him.

              You and Sarcastro still don’t seem to catch this. I am not claiming that my first post’s “reasoning” disproved Post through it’s content; I’m showing that such “reasoning” is inherently insubstantial garbage that can be used to show anything at all.

              Now that I’ve explained this multiple times, do you understand?

    5. It is interesting that most of the comments focus on my first point – the “not reading the documents” point – rather than the one I said was much worse (the “not letting the FBI explain what happened” point). I still haven’t seen a single credible or remotely persuasive argument that that was appropriate behavior, or anything that casts doubt on my conclusion that it demonstrates Nunes’ contempt for, or indifference to, the truth.

      Doesn’t the most reckless person, before making public accusations, consider what the response will be? Certainly if the FBI is able to come out with perfectly adequate and reasonable objections than Nunes will look like a fool for taking such an action. But is he that stupid? Wouldn’t he have already asked the FBI and DOJ, though normal committee channels (he being chairman), what evidence there was of the verification of the dossier, and what evidence there was apart from the dossier to support the FISA request? To suggest that Nunes had not already done this is to suggest that he has a very serious mental defect. What evidence is there of that?

      1. An appeal to ‘this looks stupid, so it can’t be what it looks like’ is not a great sign.

        1. An appeal to ‘this looks stupid, so it can’t be what it looks like’ is not a great sign.

          I think that theories that require people, heretofore thought to be normal, to have exhibited extreme recklessness and folly, to the point of idiocy, without evidence of this, when other available theories assume normal conduct, are suspect.

          It only “looks stupid” to one who assumes unaccountable aberrant behavior on the part of Nunes.

          1. Begging the question has a long and dishonorable history in this sort of debate. Why stop now?

          2. Do you have any evidence Nunez, Trump, or any of their defenders were thought to be normal? I’ve never had trouble picking up signs of their idiocy.

            It sounds like you meant to say that *you* reject theories that condemn as idiots people *you* thought were normal as idiots. Trump and Nunez are dip-shits. At least a few supporters have turned around on their supoprt for trump. But please, just go ahead and push forward defending them.

            1. It sounds like you meant to say that *you* reject theories that condemn as idiots people *you* thought were normal as idiots. Trump and Nunez are dip-shits.

              No, what I meant to say is that a theory that assumes that a person took an action against his own best interest is not to be preferred over a competing theory that assumes that the person did not take an action that was against his own best interest, other things being equal.

              In other words, people will take steps to avoid future embarrassment, so Nunes would have taken steps to discover in advance how the FBI and DOJ could counter his accusations.

              1. One man’s idiotic recklessness might be Nunez’ oversight. i.e. an oversight on the part of Nunez may look idiotic and reckless to a third party after the fact. Your heuristic may not be as reliable as you think, especially when applied to Trump et. al.

                your logic says i would proof read my previous post to avoid embarrassment, but clearly, thats not always going to happen.

                Sometimes people are blinded by what they see as a great condemnation of their political opponents, or the law enforcement inventigating their political allies. (Maybe this happened to Nunez.)

                – and to Michael P below; Nice to know you are vitriol free! but – I am arguing swood’s logic is bad here. You are the one trying to argue back and forth ‘on the merits’, when the underlying facts are unknown. (Memos based on Memos based on classified docs…) I am arguing about what conclusions can and should be drawn in absence of solid facts. How reliable is a heuristic which assumes rational actors acting rationally, when Michael P’s are out there?

                1. Sometimes people are blinded by what they see as a great condemnation of their political opponents, or the law enforcement inventigating their political allies. (Maybe this happened to Nunez.)

                  Your argument is that people don’t always do what is in their own best interest. Yes, that’s true, but if a step is available that will greatly reduce the risk of harm to a person our default assumption has to be that he will take that step. Your argument is that maybe he was careless about his own safety but that can’t be the default assumption, since people are usually not careless about their own safety.

                2. You are not “arguing swood’s logic is bad here”, you are disputing that the assumptions that underlie that logic. Your criticism is not that swood1000 made conclusions that do not follow from the assumptions (i.e. bad logic), you are simply foaming at the mouth about how stupid the people you disagree with are, and how swood1000 should not assume that Nunes or Trump can think rationally.

                  If Nunes, Trump, et al. are such great idiots, how is it they got elected to national office while your audience is limited to the Internet? You’ll need a lot more evidence than your own say-so to rebut the ideas that they understand politics and can plan ahead.

                  1. If Nunes, Trump, et al. are such great idiots, how is it they got elected to national office

                    I’m sorry, but what’s the connection between these two thoughts? Since when is getting elected a sign of intelligence? Are elections IQ contests? I don’t notice too many Nobel Prizewinners (other than, of course, Peace Prize winners) elected to office.

            2. I’ve never had trouble picking up signs of idiocy in posts like this. You do not argue anything on the merits, you simply spew vitriol and base your conclusions of who is an idiot on your own smug self-assurance. You are the one who comes across as a dipshit.

      2. “To suggest that Nunes had not already done this is to suggest that he has a very serious mental defect. What evidence is there of that?”

        What makes you think he didn’t? The simpler explanation is that Nunes knows the warrant was sufficiently verified, but that he’s still pissed off about the undisclosed (or semi-disclosed, apparently) bias.

        1. Nunes would lose more than he would gain by raising such a ruckus and charging that there was insufficient evidence if there was sufficient evidence that would inevitably come out.

          1. That’s my point. The fact that Nunes didn’t say there was insufficient evidence is itself good evidence that the warrant was sufficient. That’s why he’s focused on the bias.

            1. That’s my point. The fact that Nunes didn’t say there was insufficient evidence is itself good evidence that the warrant was sufficient. That’s why he’s focused on the bias.

              The memo references to “minimally corroborated” and “corroboration?in its infancy” were references to insufficient evidence.

              1. A reference to insufficient evidence in a thing relied on in a FISC warrant is not the same thing as saying the FISC warrant was insufficient. No one (yet) is disputing the factual sufficiency of the FISC warrant. Even the paragraph re: minimal corroboration is concerned with bias:

                “While the FISA application relied on Steele’s past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations.

                1. No one (yet) is disputing the factual sufficiency of the FISC warrant.

                  What is the purpose of references to evidence being “minimally corroborated” if not to dispute the factual sufficiency of the FISC warrant? Why the statement that the Yahoo article did not corroborate the Steele dossier other than to dispute the factual sufficiency of the Steele dossier? Give me a link to someone on the Nunes side saying that he doesn’t dispute the factual sufficiency.

                  “While the FISA application relied on Steele’s past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations.

                  This does not say that Steele’s past credibility suffices to render credible the material in his dossier. It says that the FISA application mistakenly relied on the credibility of the person gathering and presenting the evidence instead of relying on the credibility of the evidence itself, and that in any event the person was not credible.

  13. Good time to remember that the FISA process has been, is and always will be a complete joke.

    Intelligence/counter intelligence agents [in other words professionals in deceit] submit ex parte requests in secret. Judges [busy with full regular dockets], untrained in intelligence matters, review these classified requests. They have no way to tell if the information is accurate.

    Regular criminal warrants of course are also issued ex parte and subject to falsehoods. However, if they result in arrests, they can [and are] challenged by lawyers for the accused and defects/lies can be discovered. These FISA warrants can never result in criminal cases so deceit is never, never discovered. [except sometimes in very, very rare high profile cases like this one where the secret system leaks]

    [The FISA warrants are also general warrants which the founders wrote the 4th Amendment in part to stop but that is another issue.]

    FISA uses the forms of due process {affidavits/warrants/Article III judges] but it is a Potemkin system. Anyone who thinks FISA protects anyone is a fool.

    1. I’m open to FISA reform. Since I think most foreign threats to the US are imagined, I’d probably be open to elimination of the FISA entirely, although I’m not sure the alternative provides more protection than the current system, given pre-FISA executive abuse.

  14. Look, folks, it’s not that complicated. The memo says, in the first “count” of the indictment for misbehavior, as it were, that “Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.”

    Nunes has admitted that was incorrect. As in, not true. There was actually a footnote disclosing something along these lines.

    We don’t know exactly what it said, or how it was phrased, because the underlying applications are still classified. I bet Nunes himself doesn’t know exactly what it said, because he never saw the applications. But he has admitted it was there.

    That is a colossal error. Presumably, it would have been corrected, if Nunes had had the guts to hear what the FBI had to say. But he didn’t. Because he had a story to tell, and he could care less whether it was full of bullshit or not. So whatever he now tells me about it, I will not believe him, nor should anybody else.

    1. If Nunes corrected his error, then what’s the problem?

      I note that you are the one accusing the FBI of “misbehavior”. The Nunes memo does not use that word.

    2. You are grasping at straws.
      It is likely that Nunes is using lawyer-like weasel-wording. The memo states that the FBI did not reference the DNC, the Clinton campaign, or an other campaign. The FBI says, and Nunes agreed, that there was a footnote that DID mention a political entity.

      These statements are not contradictory. It is entirely possible to mention a political entity without mentioning the DNC, the Clinton or any other campaign.

      Considering the falsehoods and deceptions you have made in these comments, I don’t see why anyone should believe YOU on this topic. For example: “[And I bet they actually read the memo before concluding that it had material omissions that fundamentally impact its accuracy]”. Nope, the FBI did not read the memo before making statements about how harmful it would be, including that one. The FBI was making false statements about a memo it HAD NOT READ. After spending weeks making these false statements, you now take them seriously and literally? Did you not read your own words, where you condemn Nunes for not letting the FBI see the memo beforehand?
      Did you fail basic logic repeatedly, or did you bribe the professors to pass you the first time? Because you certainly couldn’t have earned a passing grade.

      PS – using blockquotes for things that aren’t quotes while also using it for real quotes is deceptive, shoddy, and amateurish – if deceptive and shoddy is your “style”, you should fix it.

    3. Nunes has admitted that was incorrect. As in, not true. There was actually a footnote disclosing something along these lines.

      Clearly, what Nunes thought appropriate for such a FISA request was a clear statement of the involvement of the Clinton campaign in producing a document critical of their opponent. It is disingenuous to act as if a judge would be properly notified of this by a footnote making a bland statement that it is possible that there was a political component to the motivations of some of the actors

      That is a colossal error. Presumably, it would have been corrected, if Nunes had had the guts to hear what the FBI had to say.

      Any normal person would have asked the FBI and DOJ all questions related to the justification of their actions before making such public accusations. Why do you assume that Nunes is any different, especially since by doing so he would save himself from being embarrassed later when such justification inevitably came out? Don’t you think he thought he had already gotten as much out of them as he was going to get?

    4. As noted elsewhere in these comments, the footnote does not mean Nunes was wrong. On what basis do you say he admitted that the memo’s assertion was incorrect, unless you are equivocating and using “party” in the sense of “party to a lawsuit” rather than the usual sense of “political party”, when the latter is much more obvious in context?

      1. The footnote shows that Nunes was technically correct, but wrong in all the ways that might matter to the FBI or the court.

        1. The entire point of having Congressional oversight of this is that sometimes the things that matter to the FBI (and DOJ) and the FISC are not same as the things that matter to the country as a whole.

          Also, to pre-emptively clarify what I wrote earlier: The footnote does not *necessarily* mean Nunes (or the memo) was wrong. Based on the vague and partial descriptions of the footnote that I have seen, I can imagine footnotes that would thoroughly undercut the memo’s criticisms, and others that would validate those criticisms. I have not judged the substance because I do not know the footnote’s wording.

          Both the people defending the memo and those attacking it have made a lot of lousy arguments in defense of their sides, which are the main things I object to.

    5. I don’t read Volokh Conspiracy for partisan screeds like this Post post. If I wanted to read a partisan screed I’d go to Breitbart or WaPo.

      1. Are there any websites where you prefer to read comments from people explaining why they don’t like to read those websites?

        I don’t.

  15. David, if you object to someone coming to a conclusion after hearing one side of an issue, then you must object to everything that the FISA court does.

    If you want an opinion attacking the Nunes memo, then you should soon get one from the Democrats.

  16. Regardless of the footnote specifics, Mr. Comey has admitted under oath that the Dossier was not verified and I don’t believe he included that fact in the warrant application or subsequent renewals.

      1. A witty and substantial argument.
        7/5, would be persuaded by Sarcastro again.

        1. You’re a real heavy-hitter around here.

  17. Bluepikr|2.7.18 @ 6:29PM|#
    Regardless of the footnote specifics, Mr. Comey has admitted under oath that the Dossier was not verified and I don’t believe he included that fact in the warrant application or subsequent renewals.

    Thank you for bringing that up.

    Somewhere in other commentary on this issue of verification/corroboration (and I forget where so cannot attribute), a writer argues that It is not Carter Page, and it is not the Dossier that needed to be verified; it was the INFORMATION in the Dossier that needed to be either verified or corroborated. And that neither was possible, as there is no vicarious credibility (eg., Page’s credibility (however good or poor it was) could not be imputed to his sources, and the purported primary sources of the information were Russian contacts, named and unnamed, of Page, none of whom were available to FBI for corroboration of the INFORMATION in the Dossier.
    Unless additional information to the contrary is released, one can only conclude that the FBI reference to the Isikoff article was a deliberate attempt to give the FISC the suggestion of verification and/or corroboration where none was possible — the whole thing was a fraud on the FISC.

    1. We have no idea whether said information was verified – no one has talked about the information, just the dossier.

      Actually, we do know the some parts of the dossier that talked about Carter Page’s travels were corroborated.

      1. …that he traveled to Russia, yes. OTOH, s’far as I can tell from the reporting, there’s no corroboration for Steele’s claims of what Page did during that time.

    2. Ooops, I meant Steele, not Page.

  18. Rep. Nunes is the chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Foreign Intelligence, but he’s only one of thirteen GOP members. He and Rep. Gowdy have both said in public interviews, repeatedly, that both of them participated in the memo’s drafting and editing. The memo was not issued in either of their individual names. Rather ? as the memo states ? it was issued “To: HSPCI Majority Members” and “From: HSPCI Majority Staff.”

    Surely, before writing this, you read those lines, Prof. Post.

    So why do you call it “his [i.e., Nunes] memo”? And why pretend that he was its sole author with no substantive input from, or even review by, any other Committee members, majority or minority, and their respective staffs?

    Let’s hope the FISA applications and their source documents are made public. We can all decide then whether the Committee Majority ? who are jointly responsible for the memo ? got too cute, or instead wrote a fair summary of the sort any advocate (subject to the rule of optional completeness) might submit in the introduction of a brief.

    Respectfully, I suggest that you consider the extent to which you yourself may be over-arguing ? and being a bit too cute in the process ? on this particular occasion.

    1. Beldar,
      I think you are being a bit pedantic, in insisting that Post properly label the memo. I’d cut him some slack. “Nunes memo” rolls of the tongue a bit easier than “The Nunes and Gowdy, with input from at least two but possibly more aides and input from 7 staff at the White House but no input from the FBI and with off-the-record input from the DOJ and suggestions from Breitbart” memo.”

      I’m obviously being creative in my alternate name. But asking for specificity in how we casually refer to something in shorthand seems to not be a particularly productive enterprise. YMMV

      1. But Prof. Post makes a huge deal of Nunes in particular ? Nunes’ failure to see the underlying evidence (which both Gowdy and Nunes said on Sunday shows was the result of restrictions imposed by the FBI, who limited the Committee majority and minority to one member and two staffers per side). Prof. Post’s post is very personal in attacking Nunes.

        I wish that Nunes had stayed recused and left this entire matter in the hands of Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX11), who presided during Nunes’ non-recusal recusal after his rush from Capitol Hill to the WH. I think he comes across, accurately or not (and it might be accurate), as more of a Trump booster than a Congressional oversight-exerciser, and he’s easier to demonize by those (like Prof. Post) who are now going ballistic about Nunes.

        But fine, Nunes is the chair, and he’s the public face of the Committee Majority, and to the extent he in particular says or does something that’s worth criticizing, he deserves that. But the criticism Prof. Post makes that he didn’t personally review the FISA applications is disingenuous: He never claimed to, there was no prohibition or even anything unusual about his delegating that to Gowdy and staffers, and Prof. Post’s very ad hominem attack on Nunes for that is just … well, it’s worse than too cute, it’s outright dishonest.

      2. But Prof. Post makes a huge deal of Nunes in particular ? Nunes’ failure to see the underlying evidence (which both Gowdy and Nunes said on Sunday shows was the result of restrictions imposed by the FBI, who limited the Committee majority and minority to one member and two staffers per side). Prof. Post’s post is very personal in attacking Nunes.

        I wish that Nunes had stayed recused and left this entire matter in the hands of Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX11), who presided during Nunes’ non-recusal recusal after his rush from Capitol Hill to the WH. I think he comes across, accurately or not (and it might be accurate), as more of a Trump booster than a Congressional oversight-exerciser, and he’s easier to demonize by those (like Prof. Post) who are now going ballistic about Nunes.

        But fine, Nunes is the chair, and he’s the public face of the Committee Majority, and to the extent he in particular says or does something that’s worth criticizing, he deserves that. But the criticism Prof. Post makes that he didn’t personally review the FISA applications is disingenuous: He never claimed to, there was no prohibition or even anything unusual about his delegating that to Gowdy and staffers, and Prof. Post’s very ad hominem attack on Nunes for that is just … well, it’s worse than too cute, it’s outright dishonest.

        1. Apologies for the accidental double-post.

          1. It has happened to several of comments in this thread, including one of mine that got triple posted. I assume it’s a glitch in the system rather than something that commenters are doing (that should be) wrong.

  19. Today we have the Grassley memo from the Senate side, which asserts that Sydney Blumenthal was the conduit for Hillary’s suggestions to reach Christopher Steele and his Russian team of fiction writers. We also learned from the Strzok–Page emails that Obama was, in fact, monitoring the machinations and the progress of the Deep State cabal in their smear campaign against Trump.

    Now if President Trump gets angry enough, and when he has much more solid evidence to take to FISA courts than the McCabe/Comey/Rosenthal tag team ever had against Trump associates, the Trump administration will go ahead and start unmasking Blumenthal, Podesta, Hillary Clinton, and many others to include all Democrats involved in the massive and naked Russian collusion effort to produce the Uranium One deal.

    There will be plenty of real, actual, solid evidence to support the case that not only charges key Democrats in colluding with the Russians, but also some blatantly corrupt financial windfall seeking, and considerable obstruction of justice in every matter that involved Hillary’s friends in the FBI and DOJ pretending to review or “investigate” her questionable actions.

    The appearance of impropriety is on everything. Trey Gowdy is tanned, rested, and ready to get back in the game of taking down the hard-to-convict.

    1. Excellent post, thank you.

    2. Don’t forget the Grassley-Graham criminal referral.

    3. And then we can finally get to the bottom of Vince Foster’s death and Benghazi.

  20. As a professional caution, Rep. Devin Nunes shouldn’t take the lead on issues of alleged legal impropriety. The appropriate venue for that charge should be the Judiciary Committee because it’s members ought to have legal knowledge as a prerequisite. He’s a farmer, not an attorney. (No offense to farmers.) Intelligence is supposed to be a multidisciplinary endeavor which any reasonably smart person should be able to pick up without any special knowledge.

    As a professional lament, I miss bipartisanship in Washington. When I was with Defense Intelligence Agency’s clandestine service, we had to deal with the fallout from the “WMDs in Iraq” scandal. An extremely large reason for that belief is because we ran a piss-poor asset who was lying to us. The congressional investigators with whom the agency worked were professional even when they disagreed with each other.

  21. “…you’d want to hear from the people ostensibly involved; indeed, you’d call them in and demand that they give you an explanation for what they did.”

    Uh huh. You certainly would. And if you assumed that the response you’d get would be what you’d been getting all along–namely a stonewall–sooner or later, you’d give up on that and just do what you thought you needed to do. How m any times has the FBI been asked questions–by Congress, for Pete’s sake!!–and gotten a runaround? And what’s with them giving Congress the condition that the records could be looked at by only a few people? That’s openness? Why keep asking for what you know isn’t going to be forthcoming? To avoid Post’s attempts at being scathing? Who cares? Certainly not Nunes.

    So Nunes deputized Gowdy and lived with the consequences. And now Post is the Monday AM quarterback who’s figuring out the mistakes that people who were actually in the trenches made. Where was he during this time? Why wasn’t he involved? After all, he’s obviously vastly better versed in these matters than us plebs.

    1. Yes. Nunes deputized Gowdy and will live with the consequences. Nunes was idiotic enough to help author a memo based entirely on his trust that Gowdy + aides would be (1) truthful, (2) accurate, (3) unbiased. He utterly failed. And he now is being blamed for his poor delegation, and for his gullibility (giving him the benefit of the doubt and not assuming intentional bad faith). Seems entirely reasonable.

      As to why only a small handful of people were allowed to view the underlying documents…all of us are wondering about this. That’s obviously not a partisan thing or an anti-Trump thing (unless Intelligence said, “Only 3 Republicans can view the documents, but any and all Democrats can view them.”), but it is weird that–in an effort to avoid leaks, or to maintain national security–so few of our elected officials in Congress were given access. I’d like to see it changed.

      Your 2nd paragraph does not make sense to me. Yes, people get frustrated with stonewalling. But when that party comes to you and says, “Please let us come to you and give you more information.”, YOU LET THEM do this!! If you listen and discount this new information, that’s one thing. But I cannot believe that you are okay with this committee’s refusal to be exposed to potentially helpful information. It does bring to mind an image of Republican committee members putting their heads into holes in the ground. Or putting their fingers in their ears and screaming, “La-la-la. I can’t hear you!”

  22. On what basis did you conclude Nunes wrote the memo?

    1. Excellent point. David Post, do you have a response to that question?

    2. Because Nunes has said he wrote it. You can watch him say it here.

      1. But Nunes is a liar, you post cannot believe anything he says.

        1. But what if he says he’s lying?????

  23. Now Mr. Post has me all stirred up about full disclosure and honesty and getting it right – Good Job! So what EXACTLY did this alleged footnote say? And how big was the pile of poo that it was buried in? Mr. Post expects us to accept his version of the facts and agree with him and let our moral outrage out to attack the neighbor’s cat. But he didn’t print the footnote or link to it. Or if he did, reading his article three times did not reveal it. Frankly I’m getting tired of the BS.

    1. Hey at least Post mentioned the footnote, the memo somehow failed to acknowledge its existence at all.

    2. Well, now we know.

      The FBI actually lied in the FISA application, they didn’t just omit relevant facts.

        1. They knew that the Yahoo report was sourced from Steele when they told the judge the contrary.

          1. The basis for the “[t]hey knew” is that since Mr. Steele has since admitted to having media contacts at the time the FBI submitted the FISC warrant stating that it didn’t think he was the leak, either (1) the FISC warrant was materially false (i.e. a lie) or (2) Mr. Steele made materially false statements to the FBI. But of course if it’s (2) (rather than (1), the FBI was misled. Since the Grassley referring Steele for investigation is the perjury (i.e. (2)), they aren’t saying the FBI lied. They are saying Steele lied.

            1. We already knew that Steele made materially false statements to the FBI, it was why he lost his status as an FBI source. At least, facially lost it, even as they continued to actually use him.

              The problem is that they’d known those representations were false by the time of the FISA renewals, and continued to state to the judges that the Yahoo story wasn’t sourced from Steele.

              IOW, your (1) and (2) are not mutually exclusive; Steele lied to the FBI, AND the FBI lied to the FISA judges.

              1. “The problem is that they’d known those representations were false by the time of the FISA renewals…”

                That’s the thing you keep asserting is known, which is not known.

            2. The basis for the “[t]hey knew” is that

              The basis for “they knew” is that the most superficial inquiry into the Yahoo article would have told them that the author, Michael Isikoff was not claiming independent knowledge of the facts:

              “Obviously the information that I got from Christopher Steele was information the FBI already had,” he said, noting that Steele began sharing information from his dossier in July 2016.

              Isikoff acknowledged the potential problem with the DOJ and FBI citing his article to support the FISA against Page.

              “It’s self-referential,” he said of the article and its reliance on the dossier.

              “My story is about the FBI’s own investigation,” he continued.

              “So it seems a little odd that they would be citing the Yahoo! News story about the matter that they are investigating themselves based on the same material that had been separately presented to the FBI before I was ever briefed by Christopher Steele.”

              1. Per the Grassley referral, the distinction the FBI made in its FISC warrant applications is that it didn’t (at the time) think Steele had spoken with Yahoo directly, but that he had spoken with Fusion and the FBI only. See the paragraph starting “So, as documented…” on p. 4 of the Grassley referral.

                1. Per the Grassley referral, the distinction the FBI made in its FISC warrant applications is that it didn’t (at the time) think Steele had spoken with Yahoo directly, but that he had spoken with Fusion and the FBI only.

                  Yes, clearly the FBI “seemed to believe Mr. Steele’s earlier claim that he had only provided the dossier information to the FBI and Fusion.” That’s why they included a reference to the Yahoo article in the FISA application. The point, though, is that the most minimal investigation into this would have shown it to be false, and if the procedure to get a FISA warrant on the political opposition allows facts to be verified in this slipshod manner, then we have a scandal on our hands and changes need to be made.

                2. That seems an unwarranted assumption, because the Yahoo News article in question says “U.S. officials have since received intelligence reports that during that same three-day trip, Page met with Igor Sechin, a longtime Putin associate and former Russian deputy prime minister who is now the executive chairman of Rosneft, Russian’s leading oil company, a well-placed Western intelligence source tells Yahoo News”.

                  That “well-placed Western intelligence source” could have been somebody inside the FBI, but it was in fact Steele. Who did the FBI think it referred to? Presumably the article would not use those words to describe Fusion GPS, the DNC, the Clinton campaign, or someone working for any of those parties.

  24. Is this serious? Nunes sent a very experienced ex-prosecutor to look at criminal procedure documents. If Nunes had gone himself would the criticism then have been that he didn’t send the best qualified member of the committee to examine the documents? The criticism seems to want to examine the committee “process” and not the “alleged” serious wrongdoing of the FBI and DOJ. Please read the following article. Point C, Vicarious Credibility, absolutely incinerates the FBI and DOJ folks involved with obtaining the FISA warrants in question. McCarthy is also an experienced prosecutor and knows the nuts and bolts of obtaining warrants.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/…..persuasive

  25. I’m having a problem understanding why, following longstanding congressional tradition, the memo wasn’t just leaked to a friendly newsperson.

    1. It was a Republican memo, there weren’t any friendly newspersons to leak it to.

      1. Breitbart? Drudge? Fox? Just leak it to Redstate.

        1. Pointless; Only people who already supported the President would have read it.

          Mind, that seems to have been the case anyway….

          1. This is stupid.

  26. What an idiotic “Post”. The fact that only one member of the committee and two staffers saw the underlying documents just illustrates how committees work : “a group of people appointed for a specific function, typically consisting of members of a larger group.”

    The idea that the memo would be a collaborative effort of the committee, although Nunes did the actual writing shouldn’t shock anyone. Gowdy doing the review of the documents and writing a summary of the facts provided to the chairman of the committee to write the memo seems to me a textbook case of how committees divide tasks to come up with work product.

    1. Your observation is correct, but why do you stop your analysis there.

      Here, Nunes delegated and (giving him the benefit of the doubt for argument’s sake) trusted Gowdy’s research, analysis and summary. Absent any contrary evidence, you might excuse the falsity in the memo. BUT. . . in our case, we had the FBI saying, “Wait wait wait! You’ve got some stuff wrong. Let us come and explain the mistakes you’ve made.” Nunes deliberately refused this request. Did Nunes deliberately want to release a memo with false info? I’m not sure. But he certainly ACTED like he wanted to. . . hard to imagine a benign motive to his intentional refusal to listen to the FBI (or the Democrats on his committee as well, I suppose).

      When you totally rely on another person’s research and you refuse to even listen to repeated warnings that the other person’s research was flawed . . . then of course you should be willing to accept any and all criticism. Of the process that allowed this to happen. And of your dreadful judgment at every step (who to assign to do your reading for you, how much to trust them, whether to listen to contrary evidence, etc).

      In my opinion, Nunes has not received *enough* criticism. And doubly so, given his dishonest and (laughably) incompetent earlier attempts to deceive journalists and all Americans. Is he a whore for the White House? Again, I can’t read his mind. But he sure ACTS like he is.

  27. There is so much to look back on over the past two years. And more to come. For example:

    “Writing for the far-left CNN back in October, Chris Cillizza declared President Donald Trump “bonkers” and “crazy” for suggesting what turned out to be 100 percent true: that the Democrats, Hillary Clinton, the FBI, and Russia, were all behind what is known as the “Russian dossier.”
    “[I]t is deeply irresponsible for a president of the United States to even flirt with this sort of conspiracy talk,” the overwrought Cillizza wrote, adding, “[T]he idea that the Russians, the Democrats and the FBI co-funded a dossier designed to discredit Trump’s 2016 campaign is totally bonkers.”

    What set Cillizza off on his fake news spree was an October 19, 2017, Trump tweet that said, “Workers of firm [Fusion GPS] involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?”

    In the months since that tweet, everything Trump suggested has been proven correct.”

    http://bit.ly/2nSx7HT

    1. Russia paid for the dossier, in cahoots with the FBI and Democrats (but not, apparently, the Republican campaign that originally set the researchers on Trump’s dingy trail)?

      Which Russians? Putin? The anti-Putins? The Putin stooges (maybe Manafort)? The Black Russians? The White Russians? The Russian dressing?

      I’ll file this one next to “birther.”

      1. What are you blabbing about? Yes, the Trump-hating, Clinton-voting Bush Family is a part of the establishment uni-party. Who doesn’t know that? Yes, they hired Fusion GPS during the primary. No, they didn’t have anything to do with Steele or the dossier, though. And it wouldn’t make one bit of difference to anything even if they did.

      2. ML,
        That’s it. Get back on your meds.

  28. The Woods Procedures include the following:

    The headquarters supervisor shall not sign, nor shall his or her supervisors approve, any FISA application for which these procedures have not been completed or in which there is information that the supervisor cannot verify either through his or her personal knowledge, through the means described in these procedures, or through some other reliable means.

    In such cases, either the unverified information must be removed from the declaration prior to signature, or the FISA application will be held until the necessary verification procedures are complete.

    According to the Nunes memo:

    “According to the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, Assistant Director Bill Priestap, corroboration of the Steele dossier was in its “infancy” at the time of the initial Page FISA application. After Steele was terminated, a source validation report conducted by an independent unit within FBI assessed Steele’s reporting as only minimally corroborated.”

    If it is true that the Steele dossier was only “minimally corroborated,” then inclusion of unverified portions in a FISA application would seem to be a clear violation of the Woods Procedures.

  29. What a mess this thread is. Has anyone ever seen so much empty speculation piled in one place?

    Folks, none of you knows what you are talking about. Not one of you. The right thing to do when it’s like that is, wait and see. Or, if you are a reporter, go dig something up. But to just keep running on and on about stuff you know nothing about? All that can do is rot your brain. Better to go out and play football and get concussions.

    1. I’ve assumed that many are in the concussion protocol now, actually.

  30. In a letter to Sen. Feinstein, former FISA Court Judge John D. Bates responded to some suggested FISA improvements. One of them was that there should be a private advocate to represent the interests of the target. Judge Bates recommended against this:

    The participation of a privacy advocate is unnecessary and could prove counterproductive in the vast majority of FISA matters, which involve the application of a probable cause or other factual standard to case-specific facts and typically implicate the privacy interests of few persons other than the specific target.

    However, perhaps in certain very sensitive cases, such as where the target is the political party opposite to the one in power, such an advocate might be worthwhile.

    1. Not a bad idea. But I thought that Carter was the target, and not the Trump campaign or Republican party. (Am I remembering this incorrectly? It’s possible…I’m too lazy right now to Google this.)

      Was Page a part of the Trump campaign at the time? If “no” to all the above, then your ‘advocate’ suggestion would not have applied to this case, no?

      The Trump administration is saying that Page was very low-level. “A coffee-boy,” I think I’ve seen a few times. If FISA accepted your (and Judge Bates’) suggestion for appointing an advocate; would this apply to everyone who works in any capacity for a campaign? Presidential campaigns have countless paid and volunteer workers, so you’re advocating for a pretty big exception. (I’ll grant you that the Trump campaign had way way way fewer such workers than any other campaign in recent memory)

      It’s not a bad suggestion, though. For a process as opaque as FISA, I’d rather see more protections for our civil rights. (Maybe a panel of advocates, all with the necessary security clearances??)

      1. Was Page a part of the Trump campaign at the time? If “no” to all the above, then your ‘advocate’ suggestion would not have applied to this case, no?

        According to the Nunes memo:

        “Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or. any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.”

        So the Steele dossier was relevant from the beginning. In any event we know that Page was involved with the Trump campaign at the time of some of the renewals of the FISA warrant. A news item today is that a call with Steve Bannon took place while Page was under the warrant, and Bannon was quite high up in the Trump Campaign.

        would this apply to everyone who works in any capacity for a campaign?

        How often does it happen that those working for presidential campaigns are being investigated as foreign agents? Would appointing an advocate in these cases be too much of an impediment from a national security standpoint?

  31. No, you establishment open borders hack, YOU are wrong. In your desperate never-trump zeal, you have jettisoned the truth to protect your precious globalist oligarchy.

    Nunes is a great American for exposing the coup, you are not.

    1. Arthur I Kirkland and Arthur L Kirkland: it doesn’t have to stay like this.

      1. Things will change. Bigotry and backwardness are not good bets, over all but the shortest terms, in America.

        1. Things will change. Bigotry and backwardness are not good bets, over all but the shortest terms, in America.

          Are you going to take that Arthur I Kirkland?

          1. Comrade commie Kirkland (the fake one) is a legend in his own mind. He’s a broken record and not worth responding to on most matters.

  32. “You will be in the history books forever in connection with this memorandum; your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will read all about your participation in these events, and history can be a harsh and a cruel judge.”

    It’s worse than that…the world is coming to an end because of global warming or nuclear war and it will be Trump’s fault. And Nunes will be to blame for Trump staying in office. Thus Nunes is worse than Hitler, QED.

    Now *that’s* how you do hyperbole!

  33. Meanwhile, in a splendid demonstration of doing something that makes no sense except for the immense publicity value of proving that you can do it, a Tesla automobile has been launched into space.

    If P.T. Barnum were alive today, after a week of being introduced to new wonders, he would begin to feel comfortable with the familiarity of it all. As the poet said after a drunken spree left him sleeping rough in a park, “the world it is the old world yet, I was I, my things were wet.”

    1. Re: Tesla auto launched into space.
      Yeah, too bad that the auto manufacturer had its greatest quarterly loss ever (which even then managed to beat analysts’ expectations of a greater loss!)
      They can shoot a car into space & retrieve & reuse boosters, but they can’t meet auto production schedules.

  34. I haven’t had so much fun watching a bunch of gullible right-wing rubes get lathered up about a document since Donald Trump and the Birthers played at GOP Arena.

  35. The David Post OOPS link :

    ” ?the claim that none of the FISA applications “reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding” the Steele Dossier.
    But in an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Nunes admitted that there was indeed a “footnote” to that effect included in the FISA application.”

    The Politico story :

    ” “Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior and FBI officials,” the memo alleged.
    But in an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Nunes was asked about reports over the weekend that the FBI application did refer to a political entity connected to the dossier. It is unclear precisely what language the application might have used. Nunes conceded that a “footnote” to that effect was included in the application, while faulting the bureau for failing to provide more specifics.”

    1. Note that in the Politico story the “to that effect” relates to the “refer to a political entity connected to the dossier” while in the OOPS link “to that effect” has magically converted into a reference to the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding” the Steele Dossier. By the omission of the middle paragraph of the Politco story.

      We appear to have stumbled upon the Olympic competition for medals in “Material Omission.”

      Meanwhile the interesting question is why did the FBI make a reference to a political entity (which could include all sorts of people from Planned Parenthood to the National Action Party of Mexico ) when they knew it was the DNC and the Clinton Campaign ? Why gloss over the specifics with a vague generality ? Well one answer is to conceal the specifics. Another answer is to save ink, but in this case the saving of ink seems small. Another reason is that the specifics add no useful and relevant information to the generality. Not very convincing here.
      Unless anyone has a better suggestion, we’re left with the FBI wanting to conceal the specifics from the court.

  36. In my ultimate dreamworld where even fantastic prayers are answered a complete and thorough investigation of the Clinton Foundation will explain all the intricate wonders of how the Uranium One deal was planned and expedited through a maze of American politics and regulations.

    A conservative bumper sticker in my state reads: IMAGINE IF IT WAS AS HARD TO GET WELFARE AS IT IS TO GET A BUILDING PERMIT.

    I like that simple statement a lot, because it encapsulates precisely the choice that America had in 2016 between Hillary and Trump. The logic of it can be extended in a wordier statement—AMERICA MUST IMPORT URANIUM, BUT SOMEHOW IT WAS EASIER FOR THE RUSSIANS TO EXPROPRIATE OUR CANADIAN SUPPLY THAN IT IS FOR A CANADIAN IN BRITISH COLUMBIA TO GET WELFARE HEROIN.

    Hillary has countered that prominent Republicans from Utah and Texas supported the Uranium One deal. Of course they did. Utah produces pricey home-mined uranium. Texans would just as well uranium goes away altogether to be replaced by oil.

    1. This posts shows how if you cleave to a faction, you can ignore all the details you need in order to further your narrative.

      CFIUS is not an easy thing to pass through. It also included Hillary only in passing. And ‘welfare’ hasn’t been a thing since the 1980s.

  37. The Washington Post has now reported on the fact that it met with Mr. Steele in September and October of 2016. WaPo says the reason it is reporting on this now is because the meetings were revealed by court filings. Steele met with other media including the NYT, the New Yorker, and Yahoo around the same time. Ostensibly these meetings were in an attempt to corroborate the dossier. Ultimately they found the dossier not credible enough to form the basis for any news reports.

    Our sensationalist and virulently anti-Trump media has rarely declined to report on any negative item about Trump, no matter how questionable and poorly substantiated. Yet they took a pass on this. But the FBI? They took it to court for a warrant.

    1. So if you assume the media is rabidly anti-Trump, the fact that they didn’t do this rabidly anti-Trump thing is only proof this thing was so super extra rabidly anti-Trump it’s ridiculous.

      This is beyond question-begging into some other realm of tautological BS.

      1. So you don’t think that the Washington Post and the rest of the liberal mainstream media is sensationalist and overwhelmingly anti-Trump?

        1. Sensationalist? Absolutely not. [Okay, Fox News–at night, not the real and excellent journalists that appear during the daytime–and the National Enquirer are very very very often sensationalist. The Enquirer actually built their brand around that, before becoming the propaganda wing for Trump. (They were happy to throw out crazy conspiracies against his Republican primary opponents, so I call the rag pro-Trump, rather than pro-Republican)]

          Overwhelmingly anti-Trump? Yes. But the media are also anti-KKK, anti-child porn, etc. I’m glad that all this are “overwhelmingly” anti . . . I think I’d be ashamed to live in a country where half the media advocated for child abuse and the other half opposed it. I’d also want to live in a country where the media were overwhelmingly pro-puppies, pro-warm summer days, pro-rainbows, and pro-unicorn farts.

          If you are socially conservative and pro massive government spending, and pro border security (etc etc), then you can love Trump’s policies, love his judicial appointments, and still have the integrity to hate Trump himself for his sexual assaulting of women, his false claims of religiosity, his bizarre habit of lying about important and trivial matters, and so on. When you’ve got a hateful person in the Oval Office, why should we not expect media to notice this and to comment about this? Why are you not happy that the media are, in fact, doing this?

          1. Oh right, I forgot Trump is equivalent to the KKK and child porn, which explains everything. Do you even hear yourself?

            Actually, I think Trump loves his country, and it is the liberal media that is filled with a lot of hateful people, and this hate drives a lot of what they do. What do you think of that?

            One problem though – the liberal media actually love the KKK and Nazis. Because these virtually nonexistent characters are an essential prop the MSM uses regularly to dishonestly smear America and half of their countrymen. If not for that, they would have no platform or visibility whatsoever. http://bit.ly/2BOxwVw

            Apparently, in your world, we must be lucky to have those shining bastions of morality, Hollywood and the media, to tell all of us ordinary folks (Trump’s approval rating is higher than when he was elected) how to think correctly. Hard to imagine the depths of your delusion.

        2. It is not overwhelmingly anti-Trump. It goes out of it’s way to have Trump spokesmen on to defend the indefensible.

          Trump attacks the media, and they keep treating him as legitimate. Which he is.

          So quit your Trump is persecuted thing. All it does is validate your decision to dismiss all who disagree with you.

  38. The reason that Fox News ascends steadily in the ratings is because it never hesitates to report all the news. If a particular bit matches up well with Democrat talking points, Fox will report it, perhaps with spin put on it to knock it down a bit, but nevertheless it doesn’t get stonewalled. Nobody pretends it doesn’t exist.

    Over a century ago there existed at least eight large daily newspapers in New York City. Then the Titanic sank and one newspaper took that story in its teeth and never let go–sensationalizing, playing the human tragedy card, then in the long game pursuing the blame game, covering cover-ups, assessing liability and engineering issues, etc.

    That paper was the New York Times. The Titanic made it a newspaper of record. However, the Grey Lady has become too old, pompous, fat, and narrowly focused to chase rabbits anymore. Consequently, they catch no rabbits. Peter Schweizer was the hottest investigative reporter in town, but the stuffy gray lady walked away and dismissed his best story ever.

    Furthermore, they miss the greatest actual story lines of today. If Hillary Clinton personally sank a cruise ship today carrying twice the passengers as the Titanic and they all drowned, the NYT (and the WaPo) would totally ignore the story until a way could be invented to blame it on Trump.)

    1. It’s a twitter meme how FOX is failing to report on all sorts of breaking headlines, opting instead for the latest bead of sweat off of Uranium One or Hillary’s e-mails.

      Your argument ad popularum isn’t right just because you’re super angry at Hillary for dumb reasons.

      1. My reasons will likely be supported by indictments followed by convictions, because not every prosecutor shares James Comey’s twisted notions of what a reasonable prosecutor would consider to be a genuinely serious crim.

        If Twitter-meme-heads think snotty left-wing slanders about Donald Junior or Melania deserve to be news leads, they have no concept of what is real or what really matters about anything.

        1. Also not an argument: making predictions that you will later be proven dramatically correct.

          Also, slander is not what you think it is…

  39. What is amazing is the fact that so many people are OK with the FBI coordinating with one presidential candidate to spy on the other political candidate. WHO CARES if it’s Ds or Rs, is there anything less democratic? FISA courts go against everything the 4th Amendment (and 1st) stand for and is only tolerated as a necessary evil where our adversaries to play by the rules. But it should be used in an extremely cautious matter.

    Worried about Russian collusion? does that worry justify the FBI buying “information” for one non-citizen purchased from Russian sources? How is that no collusion?

    And what is someone at reason doing advocating for such conduct?

  40. I suspect that the summer months ahead will be full of drama of all types.

    1. Given that the last 4 months have been full of drama of all types, I think there is, literally, zero people on earth who will disagree with your prediction. 🙂

      I’ll see your prediction, and top it with, “I predict that, as long as Trump is in office; there will not be a single season that goes by without mucho drama.” (mucha drama??)

  41. A caveat on the use of “bullshitter,” “moron,” etc. – A difficulty with trying to shame people for not following ones morals is that shaming behavior has gotten rather discredited lately, and could easily lead outside parties to conclude that it is the shamer who is in the wrong, and that the shaming behavior evidences the shamer’s animosity, irrationality, bigotry, etc. and is proof that it is the shamed one who is the underdog and therefore in the right. Indeed, the type of fidelity-to-truth intellectual morality Professor Post is engaging in slut-shaming over has some similarities to the sort of sexual norms that have caused remarkably similar-looking emotional outbursts. The very existence of these sorts of slut-shaming outbursts would seem to be evidence that the shamers are acting out of raw, untrammeled, uninintellectually processsed conditioning, culture, and emotion, and tend to reinforce the idea that it is the sluts, the shamees who have transgressed the supposed moral boundaries, who are the intellectually superior and morally more virtuous ones. While the shamers act irrationally to enforce oppressive social norms, the shamees, as heroic individualists, are able to use their minds and freedom of choice to defy and discard archaic and oppressive norms in the service of what is right and good.

  42. What is right and good being, of course, what is right and good for themselves.

  43. What exactly does it mean to say “there are – always – two sides to every story”? Does it mean there are two sides worthy of being taken seriously, or just two sides? If it is the former, what is the side in favor of the decimation of the kulaks worthy of being taken seriously? If it is the latter, then it is surely a vapid cliche.

    1. How do you determine which side to a story is not worthy of being taken seriously, without taking it seriously enough to at least evaluate it before dismissal?

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