Congressional Republicans say that they have a memo that proves the entire investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government is a baseless sham. The White House wants the memo released to the public.
The director of the FBI, longtime Republican Christopher Wray, does not. According to Bloomberg, Wray believes that said memo is full of inaccuracies, and paints a false narrative of the Bureau’s activities. And on Wednesday, the FBI released an official statement saying that it “has grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
This would make sense. After all, it is already a well-established fact that Robert Mueller’s investigation isn’t baseless: The probe has already produced multiple indictments and criminal confessions from Trump campaign members, including one from George Papadopoulos, who admitted that he sought thousands of stolen Clinton emails from a woman he believed to be Vladimir Putin’s niece.
So, any document that purports to demonstrate that the investigation is a “witch hunt” is mendacious propaganda, almost by definition. And then there’s the track record of the memo’s author, House Intelligence chairman Devin Nunes. Last year, days after then–FBI director James Comey confirmed the existence of an investigation into the Trump campaign, Nunes announced that the Obama administration had inappropriately “unmasked” the names of Trump transition officials in intelligence reports. Shortly thereafter, we learned that Nunes’s source for this information was the White House, and that there was no evidence whatsoever for the claim that Obama administration officials had acted inappropriately. The whole saga turned out to be precisely what it had looked like on first glance — a transparent attempt to distract media attention away from the investigation into Trump.
This happened less than 12 months ago. And now, as the House Speaker openly calls for “cleansing” the FBI — and the president argues, explicitly and incessantly, that the Justice Department’s first responsibility is to protect him (and his friends) from legal accountability — we are supposed to pretend that this memo is not a propagandistic pretense for killing the Mueller investigation and packing the FBI with lackeys for the president.
On Wednesday, White House chief of staff John Kelly endorsed Trump’s demand that a memo drafted by an demonstrably untrustworthy source — and contested by the FBI and Justice Department — be released.
“This president,” John Kelly told Fox News Radio, “he wants everything out so the American people can make up their own minds, and if people need to be held accountable, so be it.”
Earlier this week, the House Intelligence Committee voted to prohibit the release of an alternative memo on the same subject matter, compiled by the committee’s Democratic members.