The Devin Nunes Memo is an example of how two opposing sides can each view the same contents of the same document as supporting their position. On February 2, Donald Trump approved the release of the memo, against the wishes of several of his appointees. The Devin Nunes Memo accuses the FBI of abusing its use of surveillance powers to monitor Carter Page, who, at the time, was a Trump advisor.
The Devin Nunes Memo alleges that the FBI used information from the Steele Dossier to obtain a FISA warrant to surveil Page. The idea that the dossier, which barely mentions Carter Page, was the primary basis for getting the warrant, raises questions. The memo argues that the FBI showed bias against the Trump campaign by monitoring Page without substantiated data. As early as 2013, however – long before Carter Page was associated with the Trump administration – the FBI suspected Page of spying on behalf of the Russians, due to his apparent connections with the Russian mob.
The FISA warrant to surveil Carter Page was renewed three times. Each renewal required proof that the surveillance has elicited new evidence that the subject of the monitoring is an agent of a foreign power. Four separate judges signed off on the FISA warrant and its renewals. Each of the judges who signed off on the warrant or the renewals was a Republican appointee.
South Carolina Republican House Representative Trey Gowdy, one of the authors of the Devin Nunes memo, says, that, though the memo may raise questions about the process the FBI used to get the FISA warrant, it does not impact the Russia investigation. It also does not “vindicate” Trump, as Trump tweeted it did.
The dossier, Gowdy said, “(also) has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower, nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica, nothing to do with obstruction of justice, and nothing to do with George Papadapoulos’ meeting in Great Britain.” The goal of the memo seems to be little more than to sow reasonable doubt.
The Devin Nunes memo seems to ask more questions than it answers. Republicans are inclined to see the memo as evidence that the Russia investigation is a nothing more than a witchhunt. Others, who feel the investigation should continue, could look to the Devin Nunes Memo as support for their position, as well.
Wallace: Troubling Details in Nunes Memo; is it Full Story? | Fox News [2018-02-02]
Trey Gowdy Breaks with Trump on Nunes Memo | CNN [2018-02-04]