Now that the Devin Nunes memo is out in the public—with no redactions—and a counter-memo by Adam Schiff is expected to be released within days, it is a good moment to step back and look at the bigger picture of what has gone wrong with our system and where we are headed as a country.
First, it has been clear, long before the Nunes memo flap, that a network operating within the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence community had it out for Donald Trump for reasons that had little or nothing to do with alleged Russian ties. Hardcore Obama-Clinton loyalists at the top of the FBI, the CIA, the ODNI and the DOJ abused their positions in a flagrant partisan effort to prevent Donald Trump’s election. After he won the presidency, they continued in their efforts to deny him the job, deluding themselves that they could forestall the inauguration by claiming that Trump’s victory was solely the result of Russian interference, and by extension, that Trump was a blackmailed dupe of Moscow and Putin.
Post-Nunes memo claims by the Borg media that it was the George Papadopoulos comments to an Australian diplomat that led to the FISA Court surveillance request—not the Steele MI6 memos—are flagrantly phony. The Steele memos were passed to the FBI, as well as to Fusion GPS from the outset. The references to Carter Page appeared in Steele memos months before the FISA Court applications, and before the alleged Peter Strzok probe of Page began in late July 2016 (Page’s name came up in the July 19, 2016 Steele memo and the allegations of Russian possession of damaging material on Hillary Clinton were in the first Steele memo, dated June 20, 2016).
It is one thing for people in government service to have political views and biases, it is another thing for those biases to infect the workings of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Likewise for the House Select Committee on Intelligence, which had been one of the last bastions of non-partisan work on Capitol Hill (the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence appears to have preserved some semblance of bipartisan collaboration). That above-politics commitment has been trashed and it may never be restored. And it began with Adam Schiff, who seems to have spent half his time on CNN and MSNBC since the Trump election.
While the entire Mueller probe may have been the result of the fruit of a poison tree (the salacious Steele allegations, which even the FBI admitted were never corroborated), I doubt that the Mueller probe will be shut down before completion. Mueller moved quickly to dismiss Strzok and Page once the amorous emails were turned over to him in July 2017 and somewhat insulated himself from their bile.
If there was credible evidence of Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 elections—outside of the toxic claims in the Steele dossier—that is a fair subject for counterintelligence investigation. But it is becoming more and more clear that the inclusion of President Trump in the Mueller probe derived almost 100 percent from the Steele product. FBI Director James Comey read the documents and was reportedly so horrified that he threw himself fully into the scheme—along with Obama partisans John Brennan and James Clapper—to stop Donald Trump from taking office.
That, IMHO, is criminal. Comey, Brennan and Clapper are legitimate targets for Federal investigation. Only by getting to the bottom of the abuse of the awesome powers of the Federal law enforcement and intelligence services can we hope to ever restore credibility and non-partisanship, two hallmarks of a genuine republic.