The Harm Releasing the Nunes Memo Caused

I did two pieces elsewhere on the Devin Nunes memo yesterday. At Vice, I tracked all the holes in the memo; subsequent reporting showed that I hit virtually all the big ones that Adam Schiff hit in his response memo: the memo misrepresented what FBI told FISC about the political nature of Christopher Steele’s, it misrepresents Andrew McCabe’s testimony, and the memo misrepresented why George Papadopoulos was mentioned in the application. At HuffPo, I described how on the twin FISA events of the last few weeks — 702 reauthorization and the Nunes memo — both Nunes and Paul Ryan were on the wrong side of the principles of rule of law and civil liberties.

Since the memo has proven to be such a dud, a lot of people are now questioning DOJ’s and Democrats’ claims that releasing the memo would harm national security. I want to lay out three ways (DOJ surely believes) it may well do that.

Tells Carter Page and any co-conspirators precisely when FISA surveillance started

The memo tells Carter Page — and any co-conspirators both within the Trump camp and overseas — precisely when the surveillance on Page started and what it consists of.

FBI obtained an electronic surveillance warrant against Page on October 21, 2016, and obtained 3 reauthorizations (so roughly January 19, April 19, and July 18). While Page’s interlocutors overseas were likely wiretapped, if possible, associates in the Trump camp can now assume any conversations they had with him before October 21 were not recorded and remain unavailable to Robert Mueller.

Mind you, we know the memo doesn’t reveal the full extent of surveillance directed against Carter Page, because it gives no details on the 2014 FISA wiretap reportedly used against him. That leaves open the possibility that he was surveilled using other means. I think the GOP would have included had FISC approved a physical search FISA warrant against Page, because that would include the possibility of obtaining stored communications from during the campaign. But I would also bet a lot of money that whatever Attorney General was in charge during periods when Page traveled overseas approved a 705(b) order on him, permitting surveillance to continue while he was overseas. I’ll have more to say on this in upcoming days.

Note, it is also possible that the surveillance against Page continues.

Tells subjects of the investigation the status of the investigation and FBI’s ability to validate the Steele memo

The memo provides other details about the investigation, too.

On October 21, per a quotation from FBI Assistant Director Bill Priestap, the investigation into Russian ties with the Trump camp was is its “infancy.” Again, this will let Russians and Trump associates know that anything they managed to destroy before that date may well be unavailable to Mueller.

Later in October, the source report on Steele reported that the dossier had been “only minimally corroborated.” If any of the events in the dossier are real, then the Russians (especially) will have a sense of how unsuccessful the FBI had been in finding the evidence to corroborate those events. If the dossier is, as I’ve suggested, disinformation, the Russians would know that their disinformation was wasting FBI Agent time at least for months.

Tells Australians and every other foreign partner shared intelligence may be officially declassified

The memo mentions the Papadopoulos tip and confirms that’s what triggered the investigation; it also confirms that nothing shared prior to then had triggered an investigation. While the description here doesn’t attribute that intelligence to the Australians, we know that’s where it came from. Now Australia and every other country will know that intelligence they share, including intelligence that makes it look like Five Eyes officials are reporting on the citizens of other Five Eyes countries, may be released by Devin Nunes for political gain. This will add to the many reasons why our friends will hesitate before sharing intelligence with us.

Makes it more likely defendants will get FISA review

In the 40 year history of FISA, no defendant who got notice that FISA data was being used against them in prosecution has been able to review the application used against them. Because Nunes released this information so frivolously, because White House Counsel Don McGahn, in his cover memo, suggested this was a time when “public interest in disclosure of [FISA materials] outweighs any need to protect the information, the memo lowers the bar for release of FISA-related information going forward.

I assume Carter Page, if he is charged, will successfully be able to win review of his FISA application (and think that would be entirely appropriate); that may mean he doesn’t get charged or, if he does, Mueller has to bend over backwards to avoid using FISA material.

But I also assume — and hope — that this disclosure ends the 40 year drought on the release of information, which the original drafters of FISA envisioned would be appropriate in certain circumstances. I think this the one salutary benefit of this memo; it makes it more likely that FISA will work the way it is supposed to going forward.

I even think it possible that the release of this information may affect the response to Keith Gartenlaub’s pending appeal in the Ninth Circuit. His is a case that merits FISA review, and whereas the court might have hesitated to give him that in the past, it would be far easier for them to do so here.

In other words, the release of this memo likely helped those Mueller is trying to investigate, provided another reason for our foreign partners to hesitate before sharing intelligence with us, and makes it more likely some defendants will get to review their FISA application going forward. I can see how DOJ would consider all of that harmful to national security.

Update: On Twitter some folks added that this makes people distrust FBI, making it less likely they’ll share information with the Bureau. In my opinion actually sharing interview reports with HPSCI already did that (though that Chris Wray was forced to do so wouldn’t be as widely known). I also think the sheer shittiness of the dossier minimizes the impact of that somewhat. But I think it’s a fair point.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

65 replies
    • jeff montanye says:

      what i don’t get is why russian influence on u.s. elections is such a bugaboo when generation after generation explicit israeli vetting of nearly all u.s. political candidates via aipac etc. is considered no big deal.  and 9-11 and seven countries in five years (yinon plan), upwards of two million dead, is totally glossed over.

      how can it be right for the fbi to even present a document prepared as opposition research by first a cruz supporter then hillary clinton and the dnc, to the fisa court?  that the wife of a high doj official (bruce ohr) worked on?  when she wasn’t doing similar work for the cia?  even with all this, mueller seems to have found very little on trump but please let him finish it all.  perhaps he’ll do a better job than he did on 9-11 when he couldn’t find a zionist in the whole likud mossad project.

      the evil in the u.s. government is bipartisan.  as ralph nader said it’s not what they disagree about that’s the problem, it’s what they agree on.  i hope most of cia and fbi leadership, the hillary clinton election team, the barack obama justice and state departments, and the entire george w. bush top executive officers end up in prison.

       

      • JS says:

        I think its called discovery; the ability for a defendent to see the charges against him, the evidence, how the evidence was collected and to see first hand if those charging him/her broke the law to obtain it.

        So Nunes edited some stuff. This is politics all day long in DC and around the world. Are you saying that democrat congress critters in the same position wouldn’t act similarly, or worse? They have in the past and they will do so again.

        You have got to be kidding?

        You basically mocked Nunes to release the memo. You were one of the first. And now you write this? No thanks.

        • Rayne says:

          Thanks for your first comment here at EW. Two questions:
          1) What are the charges against Carter Page?
          2) What is the U.S. public law prohibiting “false writing or documents” covering government officials including legislative branch?

          • JS says:

            Non-sequitur

            My comment had to do with the hand-wringing about #releasethememo on this site when Nunes made his initial proclamation. Followed by how dangerous it was to release it. Perhaps I posted my comment in the wrong place.

  1. MD says:

    According to NYT, Patel has a certificate in international law from College of London (sorry not able to link). Sounds familiar.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Curiouser and curiouser.  Mr. Patel’s credentials are not up to the usual DoJ standards.  They exceed those of the Liberty University-type students that were hired when George Bush the Younger was president, when fundamentalist zeal and loyalty were also in high demand.

      The DoJ, like top American law firms and corporations, more often hires Ivy Leaguers, top graduates from other schools, and those who’ve stood out in some way, such as winning regional or national moot court competitions.

      Mr. Patel went to a good liberal arts college and a middling law school.  The certificate in international law from UCL is a non-degree qualification based on coursework.  Adequate, but not typically sufficient for the DoJ or for a committee staffer in Congress.  Perhaps Mr. Patel has unusual language skills.  His name implies a high-caste Indian cultural background.

      Mr. Patel spent a few years as a public defender in Miami, leapt into the DoJ – to work on counterterrorism cases no less (an unusual progression).  He then crossed over to the House intelligence committee to work for Mr. Nunes.  He has since apparently “forged connections” at the White House, presumably owing to his status as an assistant to Devin Nunes.  There’s juice somewhere in that background.

  2. SpaceLifeForm says:

    “Note, it is also possible that the surveillance against Page continues.”

    Yes. And Nunes could have known that, but when one does not do actual research in a rush-to-judgement…

    [And the timing of original memo (2018-01-18) means they likely were not concerned about a 4th renewal, just wanted to throw mud]

    http://thehill.com/homenews/house/372119-nunes-admits-he-did-not-view-the-surveillance-warrant-applications-that-form

    [in theory, he recused and had Gowdy do his dirty work]

    I do not believe that Page can ever be charged until after midterms.

    Recall the Boyd letter. He knew Nunes did not have full picture.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “because White House Counsel Don McGahn, in his cover memo, suggested this was a time when “public interest in disclosure of [FISA materials] outweighs any need to protect the information, the memo lowers the bar for release of FISA-related information going forward.”

    It also skewers any notion that Don McGahn is some sort of champion for the rule of law or a civil libertarian.  He works for Donald and shares his priorities.

    A merely competent lawyer would have argued to protect this information and the system of research, analysis, and classification and the people who implement it – which starts and starts with the president. But that judgment would be about professionalism in an interdependent world: Donald daily demonstrates he believes in neither, only in himself.

    • Trip says:

      The thing that occurred to me after reading his intro letter was that Burck represents him, Priebus and Bannon, and this seems to indicate that they may all be for providing cover. Otherwise, their interests would tend to diverge, wouldn’t they?

    • Trip says:

      Priebus:

      “I never felt that I was involved in something nefarious,” he added. “The whole way through, from beginning to end. So, you can understand the frustration of the president when he’s told he’s not under investigation.”

      https://www.rawstory.com/2018/02/ex-trump-chief-staff-reince-priebus-russia-never-felt-involved-something-nefarious/

      And there you have it, Burck’s clients all on the same page? Bannon seems to be the most possible outlier, with the Junior comment and treason. But that was for a book, and not actual testimony.

      __________________________________________________________________

      emptywheel‏ @emptywheel

      I sort of hope Time was sitting on that Carter Page news until almost every Republican had ponied up to the Save Carter Page fund.

      I still wonder about Carter Page. He is either a complete blathering flake, some sort of intel decoy or an FBI asset. He spilled the goods on Ryan’s plot (without anyone realizing at the time in October), and then there is this Preet Bharara case, in 2015:
      Evgeny Buryakov Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court In Connection With Conspiracy To Work For Russian Intelligence

      The FBI obtained the recordings after Sporyshev attempted to recruit an FBI undercover employee (“UCE-1”), who was posing as an analyst from a New York-based energy company.  In response to requests from Sporyshev, UCE-1 provided Sporyshev with binders containing purported industry analysis written by UCE-1 and supporting documentation relating to UCE-1’s reports, as well as covertly placed recording devices.  Sporyshev then took the binders to, among other places, the Residentura….In the summer of 2014, BURYAKOV met multiple times with a confidential source working for the FBI (“CS-1”) and an FBI undercover employee (“UCE-2”).  Both CS-1 and UCE-2 purported to be working on a casino development project in Russia. During a conversation recorded on July 22, 2014, Sporyshev warned BURYAKOV that meeting with UCE-2 might be a “trap” but authorized BURYAKOV to go ahead so he could make a better assessment.

      https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/evgeny-buryakov-pleads-guilty-manhattan-federal-court-connection-conspiracy-work

      This sounds like something that could have also involved Sater, but (disclaimer) I didn’t do my homework, going back and looking at dates, etc. of development projects.

      This just seems like an interesting tidbit. The actors (UCE-1 and 2) could also be completely unrelated. However, Carter Page states that he did speak with the FBI on the past case. Maybe trippy civil rights bro role is an acting gig, and then maybe it’s not?

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          Recommend not to speculate publicly on the two uce until next year (past midterms).

          When it comes out, some leakers may be caught. Consider that, speculation, whether correct or not, potentially could disrupt any ongoing investigation(s).

  4. Trip says:

    I still can’t get over this, in October. Clearly this memo isn’t the only breach of classified info passed on:

    PAGE: I don`t know anything about those other meetings. I wasn`t part of 
it. And it`s nothing.
    HAYES: Carter, the biggest hack…
    PAGE: The only hack I know about is the FISA warrant hack and the FISA 
warrant wiretap.
    HAYES: Do you have legal representation?
    PAGE: I have some people that are helping me. My main lawsuit that I`m 
thinking…
    HAYES: But you have an attorney?
    PAGE: I have some informal advisers and a formal adviser.
    HAYES: Did you bring an attorney to you when you spent five hours before 
the senate?
    PAGE: Nope. No. I`m very, very open and happy to give all the 
information I can. In the interest of really getting the truth out there, 
because I think when the truth comes out, when Speaker Paul Ryan says the 
FISA warrant or the details about the dodgy dossier and what happened and 
all this documents around that is going to be released, that`s what I`m 
really excited about. And I think the truth will set a lot of people free.

    http://www.msnbc.com/transcripts/all-in/2017-10-30

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “I wasn’t part of it.  And it’s nothing.”

      I’m always impressed with people who weren’t participants or witnesses but who know exactly what went on at a meeting.  Rather like Donald.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      One can conclude that Page should be excited now.

      May not be for the reasons he originally envisioned however.

  5. orionATL says:

    another major criticism of the soon-to-be-infamous “nunes memo” is this:

    nunes and his fellow republicans refused to allow the committee’s democrat minority to release their detailed and severely critical report to the public. this action is equally as damning as any criticism of a specific entry in the nunes report because doing so implies that republican members of the committee knew their work was inaccurate and misleading, knew the democrat report would expose that inaccuracy, and thus were actively involved in hiding their deliberate inaccuracy from the media and the public.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Even Dick Cheney was allowed to issue his minority report to his committee’s scathing Democratic majority report on Iran-Contra.  I guess IOKIYAR.

      Cheney’s report, BTW, was an argument and a blueprint for Reagan on how not to repeat Nixon’s Watergate-related resignation.

      • orionATL says:

        very interesting bit of history. if there was ever an individual who understood the federal bureaucracy’s rules and ways of doing business in infinite detail, it was dick cheney. nor has there ever been a more malign government “servant”, the devil’s deputy for sure.

        • jeff montanye says:

          imo right on both counts.  the nunes memo gives great reasons not to renew the fisa court, especially with greater or even the same powers; wasn’t used this way.  and bottling up the schiff reply is chicken and poor sportsmanship.  and cheney is still alive and there is no statute of limitations on treason or murder, both of which he is guilty.

          but this is the same, or similar, fbi that gave g.w. bush a pass on all his crimes.  mueller is the same guy!  why not accept that hillary clinton is actually a great political criminal (as obama and as bush) and let justice take its course?  holding on to such as clinton and obama will get the democrats the dustbin of history (two million innocents killed).  even the idiot republicans had the good sense to nominate trump rather than cruz or rubio or bush or . . . .

          make the republicans take responsibility for g.w. bush.  he at least was guilty of great treason and mass murder.  trump is guilty of serving as a republican, making the rich richer, polluting the world on many levels, over tweeting, strange hair, coarse ways . . . .  if there was much else to be found they would have cited it in subsequent warrant applications or leaked it to the legacy media.

        • posaune says:

          Agree.   Trump’s bunch doesn’t hold a candle to Cheney/Rumsfield et. al. as to intelligence, process and method.

  6. Karl Darx says:

    The FBI took a vicious political hit job from Hillary and lied repeatedly to the FISC judges about it so they could spy on Trump. Of course they knew it was a pack of lies, it was probably half generated from their own people (Nellie Ohr etc.).

    And there is no way that Comey, and Lynch, and Obama did not know all about this. They knew, and they will pay for their crimes. Marcy’s imagined “holes” will all be filled in due course, by Horowitz and others, and a lot of Democrats are going to prison for their treason. And if some corrupt Republicans get nailed too, well all the better. This is 100x worse than Watergate. And people sure went to prison for that one.

    Trump will be proved to have been telling the awful truth all along. Sharyl Atkisson – one of many victims of Obama’s illegal spying –  and Kimberly Strassel will continue to bring out the facts as they surface. The FBI leadership has been dirty for the Clintons since FileGate. It’s time to clean out Obama’s weaponized government agencies. Including the State department, the DOJ, FBI, IRS, ATF, BLM and more.

    I’m old enough to remember when Democrats decried corrupt government. Back when Nixon was president. Ever since Barack Milhouse Hussein Benito Obama, though …. ehhh, not so much.

    • bmaz says:

      You are so fucking full of shit, your eyes must be dark brown. Don’t come back. Ever. And I will be watching. Seriously, fuck off with your ignorant racist crap at the end of your already ignorant comment.

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      Oh, honey, you need at least one reference to QAnon.

      I’d ask “if that’s the real story, why all the lies upon lies upon lies?” but you’re just a fuckwit troll.

    • Rayne says:

      The man said leave. Your sixth comment containing an ad hominem has been binned.

      Apologies to community members who may have replied to that binned comment. Don’t encourage those who are here solely to provoke.

  7. yastreblyansky says:

    I was hoping you would answer this question, thanks! It’s greatly clarifying

    A weird detail I noticed yesterday, that the earliest report of Page surveillance, in Wapo last April, said the order was issued not in late October but “summer” 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-obtained-fisa-warrant-to-monitor-former-trump-adviser-carter-page/2017/04/11/620192ea-1e0e-11e7-ad74-3a742a6e93a7_story.html?utm_term=.2ea0e5318779 What’s up with that?

    • Trip says:

      I don’t know. I just found an NYT article that says the same, but that the request was done after he left the campaign.
      Court Approved Wiretap on Trump Campaign Aide Over Russia Ties
      APRIL 12, 2017

      The Justice Department obtained a secret court-approved wiretap last summer on Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign, based on evidence that he was operating as a Russian agent, a government official said Wednesday.
      The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued the warrant, the official said, after investigators determined that Mr. Page was no longer part of the Trump campaign, which began distancing itself from him in early August. Mr. Page is one of several Trump associates under scrutiny in a federal investigation.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/us/politics/carter-page-fisa-warrant-russia-trump.html

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          That’s curious.

          Given that Uday whined on Friday that surveilling Page meant snooping on the campaign, I think we should treat any dates referencing “in/out of the campaign” as fuzzy. (And Uday as dumb.)

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Of course anyone in a political campaign seriously tainted by Russian involvement should have been surveilled.  Neither being in a campaign nor winning an election provides immunity from investigation for serious crimes.

          • Avattoir says:

            That fuzziness could derive from any one or more of a number of things inherent in the processes typically employed by a lot of Washington DC-based national security beat reporters.

            Say a natsec reporter with WaPo has a source in or near the FISC application process who’s aware of a court application that took place in the fall of 2016 and that named Page as a targetl, but NOT aware that the application was an extension.

            Then say that, more or less contemporaneously, another WaPo reporter on the same beat or near enough has an entirely different source in or around the FBI who can say that there was some sort of search warrant in place at some point during the summer of 2016 from which communications involving Carter were obtained, but this second source doesn’t have any information at all concerning the nature of warrant itself, including whether Carter’s name appears in it as a target or whether it’s a ‘fresh’ warrant or an extension in a line of 2 or more warrants.

            It wouldn’t be at all illogical for someone to speculate on how those two facts might be reconciled, such as that the court application that fall was to extend the terms of a warrant that was already in place during the summer preceding it; but there are other ways in which those anon-sourced facts could be reconciled, and it’s often beyond the capacity of the reporters who work the WaPo natsec to be able to say for certain which of whose ways pertained in this particular case.

            FWIW this sort of problem isn’t even limited to sophisticated specialized news desks in big privately owned news media orgs. I’m aware of a situation some years ago that occurred more in the heartland, where federal and local law enforcement had been independently pursuing what turned out to be the same collection of folks along entirely separate lines, where each set of investigators obtained a wiretap warrant that provided an entry into the criminal collective, then after a time each set figured out that an entirely different group, another investigating authority, was involved, then spent some significant time, for one side a truly embarrassing amount, investigating what they BELIEVED to be a case of public corruption.

            It didn’t get that far in that case in which I was (peripherally) involved,  but there have been FUBARs of this type that weren’t headed off until after a whole lot of institutional public embarrassment. My point is, if it can happened with law enforcement, which actually has the means at hand to reconcile such apparent anomalies, it shouldn’t surprise any of us that it comes up in news media investigations.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’ve been wondering if the GOP leaked the FISA on Page, precisely for this attack. In which case it’d make sense to back date it.

      It’s also possible that DOJ did apply, but get rejected, for FISA warrants earlier and FISC only said they could do it after he left the campaign

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Which I why I wondered if *two* investigations. Both requiring FISC.

      Also, maybe the NunesBurger was created with so much cherry-picking and lack of reading comprehension due to rush-to-judgement to throw taint on FBI, that they failed to notice what they thought was initial application was actually a renewal?

      Maybe FBI actually missed 90 day window, and had to start over?

      Maybe misinfo and the summer app was for Papa?

      How about if Gowdy and/or staffers really do not understand the process and misled themselves into totally flawed research?

      Especially in a rush-to-judgement.

      • greengiant says:

        Most evil Nunes scenario.  Suppose Oct was a renewal. The July request was more favorable to Nunes’s narrative.  And/Or it is a planned disruptive shoe drop blaming Schiff, Gowdy, staffer, or FBI for the oversight. Expect sudden rush to SCIF to look for the unmentioned FISA order.

        Most typical Nunes scenario.  The July initial request did not mention Steele so team Nunes doesn’t mention it but the Schiff counter memo points all this out.

        Most crazy Gowdy scenario.  Only Gowdy knows what is in the July request.  That’s why he is giving notice.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Note if you work backwards using 90 day window, and if the WaPo article is correct, then prior FISA application would land you back late July 2016.

      That points to *two* investigations *IFF* the NunesBurger is correct that the first Page application (that Gowdy and Nunes staff spotted) was *NOT* a renewal. Or DOJ/FBI missed the 90 day window.

      Either scenario is interesting.

      I totally doubt DOJ/FBI would drop the ball and miss the renewal window.

      Cleaned link:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-obtained-fisa-warrant-to-monitor-former-trump-adviser-carter-page/2017/04/11/620192ea-1e0e-11e7-ad74-3a742a6e93a7_story.html

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      One more tidbit that caught my eye:

      The NunesBurger *specfically* pointed out that Title VII was *not* a factor.

      Why mention that?

  8. orionATL says:

    kashyap patel is the next republican john yoo, a young man willing to please and intoxicated with nearness to power.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/us/politics/kashyap-patel-nunes-memo.html

    from the last paragraph of the times article:

    “… In November, he posted a series of photos on facebook of him and several friends wearing matching shirts at the White House bowling alley.”The Dons hit the lanes at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue,” Mr. Patel wrote under the photos….”

    following the logic patel used in the nunes memo, we could argue that this and other white house frolics indicates severe pro-trump bias on the part of patel of the sort that makes his arguments in the memo, and the memo itself, as invalid as the fisa warrant application that referenced christopher steele and implied the clinton campaign. and further, makes patel as biased an observer/participant as mccabe, et al.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      His behavior on being parachuted into that case in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas showed remarkably bad judgment on his part and on the part of whomever sent him there.

      The legal geography throughout America should be well-known to the DoJ.  Even on the federal bench, for example, LA ain’t SFO, and Chicago isn’t Detroit or Miami.  The Rio Grande isn’t even like the rest of Texas, it’s the Valley.  You don’t mess with it lightly or in an unprepared way, even if you’re admitted in Texas, which Patel isn’t.  You don’t walk in as a visitor and disrespect a federal judge and walk out with all your hair.  The judge’s reaction to Patel was correct: He was an unqualified, unbriefed, expensive waste of space and taxpayer money.

      One might ask if he’s improved since then.  Apparently not.  As reported by the NYT, his outside-of-protocol visit to London, to “introduce himself” to Christopher Steele was unprofessional.  It was not the behavior one expects from a representative of the USG when visiting our most trusted ally.

      Indeed, it was remarkably ignorant to show up without warning to Steele or his government or, presumably, anyone at the American embassy, to ask gotcha questions out of context for misuse by Nunes.  Steele is a former MI-6 Russia desk officer.  As such, he would still have enough juice to tell a newbie staffer from a foreign government – acting outside channels and protocol – to fuck off.  He did.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Oh, and Patel apparently used another lawyer’s credentials when signing in to that SD Texas courthouse.  That might not be defrauding the court or justify a bar referral, but it’s heading in that direction.  For a lawyer from Main Justice, it’s arrogant, foolish and stupid.  The district court judge said so.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    One of the arguments against indicting a sitting president is that it would so occupy his time that it would imperil the running of government.  There are several counter arguments.  If the president’s conduct justifies an indictment, the running of government is already adversely affected.  If the president is impeached and tried in the Senate, the running of government is even more adversely affected.

    When the impeachment provisions were written, there was no 25th Amendment that provided for temporary assumption of presidential authority by the vice president.  So difficulties in running the government must have been deemed acceptable in the circumstance of alleged serious misconduct by a president.

    Today, we do have the 25th Amendment.  It provides a constitutional means for the president temporarily to relinquish his authority to the vice president should he, for example, become so distracted by managing his defense that he is unable temporarily to fulfill his duties as president.  He can give up his power, defend himself, and resume his leadership should his defense be successful.

    Trump would never voluntarily do that.  Nor would have Nixon and probably not Clinton.  Were the president impeached, he would not be obligated to use the 25th Amendment. That choice should not prevent the president’s indictment on serious criminal charges.

  10. GKJames says:

    Isn’t the whole point of the exercise Nunes’s signaling to the other actors the state of the investigation and what evidence Mueller has or doesn’t have? By the way, what exposure does Nunes himself have?

    • Avattoir says:

      After McCarthy beat out Bob LaFollette for that Wisconsin seat in the Senate in 1950, from when Tailgunner Joe started in on his ‘X communists in the Y department’ campaign in 1950, to when, after a long list of folks had their careers and lives trashed and ruined by his stunts, he was confronted at the Army hearings, was about 4 years; tho, he tried to keep going at it further a while, even up to a few months before he died (still in office) in 1957.

      Nunes is in a ridiculously safe Republican seat. Was the time it took for McCarthy to flame out a minimum, average or maximum for this kind of politician? I think we really don’t have enough of a data base to know. Louie Gohmert’s not a helpful example, being really a cartoonish clown; Steve King’s probably not either, being his appeal is so much reliable embedded in various bigotries.

      I’d be surprised if you could find a better comparable for Nunes than McCarthy, who, again: died in office.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Tailgunner died from complications of alcoholism.  Might not apply to Devin.  But the metaphor has merit.

        McCarthy was a foil for an establishment that used him mercilessly during the Truman years. The GOP had been out of office for twenty years and needed the theater McCarthy created to boost its prospects.  Eisenhower beat Truman in 1952 and the Republicans returned, with many axes to grind.

        Joe remained popular for another couple of years.  After the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954, he was no longer useful and lost support.  By then, the conformity norms the right was seeking, in government, the military and its bomb, academia, and big business had been established.  Joe was no longer necessary, the party moved on, McCarthy became a has been and lost himself in the bottle.

        Nunes role is similar; we’ll see if his trajectory is, too.

  11. Bjorn Jensen says:

    Who is This Guy?

    Transcript Before the Honourable Lynn N. Hughes

    United States of America
    Versus
    Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan

    Houston,Texas
    January 28, 2916

    His Honour, Judge Hughes is about to confront in court
    Kashyap Patel – the future author of the Nunes memo:

    The Court: “Who is this guy?”

    The Court: “And where is your tie? Where is your suit ?”

    Mr Patel: My apologies sir. I had to change my plane overnight….

    The Court: What did you wear on the plane ?
    ‘Mr Patel: I wore this sir. This is all I had….

    The Court: why didn’t you wear a suit?
    Mr Patel: I didn’t have one with me overseas…

    The Court : If you want to be a lawyer dress like a lawyer

    Mr. Patel: I will sir

    The Court: Act like a lawyer

    Growing impatient with why Kashyap Patel is even in his Court apparently sent by Washington – Judge Hughes continues to berate him and asks him to get his passport to show his “Global Entry ” status as such –
    – and eventually when Patel returns, Judge Hughes says he doesn’t need him on the case and ushers the schoolboy without his uniform out of his Court – a humiliating expulsion (expelled) from school- priceless !

    In a humorless past few weeks-
    This exchange between His Honour Lynn Hughes and Kashyap Patel in the first few pages of the court transcript is hilarious :

    https://www.scribd.com/doc/299422641/Read-How-a-Federal-Judge-in-Texas-Berated-A

    And further, the embarrassing note home to mom and dad:

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/amp/Federal-judge-issues-Order-of-Ineptitude-6816478.php

    Order of Ineptitude

    Read here :

    http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/national/read-how-a-federal-judge-in-texas-berated-the-justice-department/1863/

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The MSM is discovering that Carter Page had become a person of interest to the FBI in 2013.  Exciting.  Had they done a bit of homework, they would have realized that that’s a late date.

    Page has been bullish on Russia since before he worked with Merrill Lynch.  He worked in their Moscow office starting in 2005, and left Merrill in 2008.  Had they read his 2012 PhD dissertation, his pro-Russian views would have been clearer.  His examiners, however, did not think that he had learnt much about Marxism or state capitalism, which for an ardent Putin fan are odd things to ignore.  Page attributed his difficulty in passing his orals not to his being analytically confused, as his advisers concluded, but to simultaneous anti-Russian and anti-American bias, suggesting that Page views himself as both pro-Russian and pro-American.

    That’s just what could be gleaned from his formal resume.  Examining his work and speaking record, like, oh, a reporter, might disclose more.

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