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House votes to release Democrats’ memo as Nunes walks back biggest claim
The memo wars will never end.
The House voted unanimously to release a Democratic rebuttal to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) FISA memo, and in the wake of that news, Nunes was forced to walk back one of his memo’s more audacious claims.
In his memo, Nunes alleges that the FBI did not disclose to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the Christopher Steele dossier, full of salacious stories about President Donald Trump and Russia, was paid for in part by Democratic operatives. But a report by the Washington Post says the court was informed of the political ties in the document. Rather than dispute the veracity of this story, Nunes went on Fox and said that yes, that’s true, but it was done in a small font.
“A footnote saying something may be political 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,” Nunes said when asked on Fox.
Other parts of his investigation come under fire as well. During the same interview, Nunes said that his committee never found evidence that Trump met adviser George Papadopoulos, who was under investigation during the campaign for his ties to Russia.
That’s not true.
This morning, Devin Nunes, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee just said that Donald Trump, "had never even MET George Papadopoulos." pic.twitter.com/zFV7cEAtbo
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) February 5, 2018
Continuing on his press tour in the evening, Nunes said on Sean Hannity that it’s time a counterintelligence investigation was opened into Hillary Clinton because of her apparent ties to Russia.
“We have a clear link to Russia—you have a campaign who hired a law firm, who hire Fusion GPS, who hired a foreign agent, who then got information from the Russians on the other campaign,” Nunes said
Meanwhile, a central figure in the investigation, Carter Page, went on Fox and said that while he isn’t a Russian operative, he certainly took a few meetings with the Kremlin.
Page claims his boast about serving as an informal adviser to the Kremlin was "taken out of context," says he merely "offered some insights" but isn't able to explain exactly what context is lacking.
"We had a couple of meetings. Big deal." pic.twitter.com/lwIHWi007y
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 6, 2018
The Democrats rebuttal to the FISA memo—a 10-page document that Schiff said “will help inform the public of the many distortions and inaccuracies” in the GOP memo—will now be sent to President Trump for a similar review process. Trump will have five to days to decide whether to release it to the public or keep it classified. However, yesterday, the president lashed out at the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), while praising Nunes as an “American Hero.”
Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper! Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2018
Representative Devin Nunes, a man of tremendous courage and grit, may someday be recognized as a Great American Hero for what he has exposed and what he has had to endure!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2018
Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said that the White House would give it the same scrutiny the Nunes memo received.
“[We] will consider it on the same terms we considered the Nunes memo,” Shah said. “Which is, to allow for a legal review, national security review led by the White House Counsel’s Office, and then within five days the president will make a decision about declassifying it.”
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]