Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/3/18: On The Nunes Memo, The Times Flunks (Another) Integrity Check.

Cold Morning! I mean, Good Morning!

Anne Frank would still read The New York Times, I guess…

(Anne Frank belongs in the Ethics Alarms Heroes Hall of Honor. I will fix that with a post this month–she probably dies in February, 1945. Don’t let me forget.)

1 “But you know what I sometimes think? I think the world may be going through a phase… It’ll pass. – I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are really good at heart.” Or maybe not. I gathered up all my idealism and hope, and thought that maybe, just maybe, after the ugly and destructive lynch mob it has constituted for over a year to try to destroy the elected President, the mainstream news media, faced with incontrovertible evidence of frightening lawlessness and an attack on democracy by the previous administration in the midst of a Presidential campaign, would finally show some integrity and do its duty.

Then I read today’s New York Times.

The headline: GOP MEMO LEADS TO FRESH JOUSTING ON RUSSIA INQUIRY.

Unbelievable. That’s the news? That there is “fresh jousting”? The memo, as I accurately explained in the previous post, shows that the Obama administration’s Justice Department knowingly used opposition research, funded by Obama’s party and its Presidential candidate, that has substantially been discredited  by the FBI, the same agency that represented it to the court, as evidence justifying a FISA warrant against an American citizen and a member of the opposing party’s Presidential campaign and the Republican Presidential campaign itself.

I don’t see any mention of the Russian collusion investigation in that sentence, but that sentence still suggests a serious scandal involving abuse of civil rights and tampering with the election by law enforcement and a partisan Justice Department. If the so-called “newspaper of record” was objective and trustworthy, some version of that sentence would have been its headline, not an intentionally misleading headline stating that the “news” just is more political “jousting.”

Think about it: the Times is using a less interesting and provocative headline that the one that is justified by the facts. The only reason it would do this is misdirection born of a political agenda. No, Hanlon’s Razon does not apply here. This is not incompetence. This is malice.

2. “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. ” Then there the Times editorials. Two days ago, the Times editors wrote this:

“In a demonstration of unbridled self-interest and bottomless bad faith, the Trump White House and its Republican minions in Congress are on the cusp of releasing a “memo” that purports to document the biggest political scandal since Watergate. To pull it off, they are undermining the credibility of the law enforcement community that Republicans once defended so ardently, on the noble-sounding claim that the American public must know the truth.”

Again, unbelievable and yet too believable. Let’s parse this one:

“In a demonstration of unbridled self-interest and bottomless bad faith,”

The Times thinks it is bad faith to inform the American public of undeniable misconduct by the FBI and the Justice Department regarding civil rights and the Presidential election. Sure.

“…the Trump White House and its Republican minions in Congress are on the cusp of releasing a ‘memo'”

An ad hominem attack (“minions”), a partisan bias-based innuendo of dishonesty ( “purports to document”) and a dishonest use of scare quotes around “memo,” as if this wasn’t a memo. It is a memo.

“…the biggest political scandal since Watergate.”

A straw man trick, exploding an assertion into its most extreme form to knock it down. The facts are the facts, and how they are characterized by some is irrelevant to what the facts show. it may not be  “the biggest political scandal since Watergate” when a Democratic administration uses opposition research its party paid to have done to defeat a Republican Presidential candidate  to get court authorization to spy on that campaign during the campaign. You have to admit, though, that at least sounds a little like Watergate—Presidential campaign, administration interfering with the opposition campaign, dirt tricks, misuse of government power—no? Even a little bit like Watergate is bad enough, when government and law enforcement interference with Presidential campaigns is the issue.

“To pull it off, they are undermining the credibility of the law enforcement community that Republicans once defended so ardently, on the noble-sounding claim that the American public must know the truth.”

Pull what off? That’s another bit of rhetorical dishonesty implying wrongdoing by transparency, when  transparency is not wrongdoing unless it is illegal (Wikileaks, James Snowden). Then we have the cynical tack I just wrote about:

“The argument against the memo and the issues it raises, that the public revelations demoralizes our intelligence community and undermines the public’s support and trust is the same invalid logic being used to condemn criticism of the biased news media. If these institutions are not trustworthy and acting against the interests they are pledged to protect, then the public must know. If the conduct of the intelligence community shows that it isn’t trustworthy, there is nothing wrong, and everything right, about exposing it.”

How does the fact that the Republicans once defended the law enforcement community “ardently” change the appropriateness and necessity of  revealing wrongdoing they were not previously aware of? Finally, did I really read the New York Times editors mocking the proposition (“noble-sounding”) that “the American public must know the truth”?

What a disgraceful, shocking, self-indicting paragraph.

3. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”  Incredibly enough, this morning’s Times editorial was more shameless and unethical than that one. The headline: “We’ve Got the Memo. Now What About Trump’s Tax Returns?”

Wow. We have another certain admittee to the Whataboutism Hall of Fame. A released document reveals, again, ” that the Obama administration’s Justice Department knowingly used opposition research, funded by Obama’s party and its Presidential candidate, that has substantially been discredited  by the FBI, the same agency that represented it to the court, as evidence justifying a FISA warrant against an American citizen and a member of the opposing party’s Presidential campaign and the Republican Presidential campaign itself”—never mind the other disturbing implications—and the Times’s reaction is “What about the President’s tax returns?”

What about the grassy knoll? Hey, look at the puppy! Check out the rack on that babe! Wait, is that Elvis?

This radiates desperation. So does the rest:

“Seriously? That’s all they’ve got?”

That’s all they have revealed so far, but the fact that—here we go again—“the Obama administration’s Justice Department knowingly used opposition research, funded by Obama’s party and its Presidential candidate, that has substantially been discredited  by the FBI, the same agency that represented it to the court, as evidence justifying a FISA warrant against an American citizen and a member of the opposing party’s Presidential campaign and the Republican Presidential campaign itself” is plenty, unless you view your job, as the Times apparently does, as obscuring the truth and providing cover for your favorite party rather than enlightening the public.

The memo opens darkly, raising “concerns with the legitimacy and legality” of Justice Department and F.B.I. interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. What sort of illegality are they talking about? The memo doesn’t say.

But it does. We know it’s illegal to mislead a court while seeking a warrant to spy on a citizen and a presidential campaign. We know that a memo created by a the political party that controls the Executive and the Justice Department  is inherently unreliable, and in this case was found to be unreliable, and that it was illegal for the FISA court not to know how unreliable it was, or have the necessary information to make its own assessment.

“Its central assertion appears to be that investigators who sought and received a warrant from the intelligence court to surveil the Trump campaign adviser Carter Page misled the court by failing to reveal the biased evidence they were relying on. First, they included in their warrant application a dossier prepared by Christopher Steele, a former British spy, without telling the court that Mr. Steele’s research was partly funded by the Clinton campaign. Second, they did not reveal that Mr. Steele had told a Justice Department official that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” The memo also notes that Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the F.B.I. who stepped down this week, testified to the Intelligence Committee in December that investigators would not have sought the warrant without the information contained in the dossier.

This is all potentially interesting information. How significant is it in context?

“Potentially interesting’????  What? That is res ipsa loquitur: it speak for itself. (It also rebuts “the memo doesn’t say.”) No context cleanses it. Then the Times starts throwing dust and spinning:

“For starters, what other evidence did the intelligence court rely on in finding probable cause to issue the warrant? The memo doesn’t say.”

It doesn’t matter. The dossier should not have been part of the process in any way.

“What about the court’s rationale for issuing three separate extensions, each of which required investigators to present new evidence beyond the dossier? The memo doesn’t say.”

The dossier was used to get court approval for all three extensions, and in all three, it was represented as reliable evidence. It would not have been used if it were not deemed necessary to acquire the warrants.  It is a rebuttable presumption, therefore, that the warrants would not have been issued or re-issued without it.

 “Was any significant piece of information in the dossier found to be inaccurate? The memo doesn’t say.

James Comey, who was head of the FBI at the time, described the memo to Congress, under oath, as “salacious and unverified.” Gee, I’d say that description strongly suggests that dossier was “found to be inaccurate,” wouldn’t you? Why won’t the Times? Comey’s statement was widely publicized, even in the Times. The memo doesn’t have to “say it.” We already know it—and so did the FBI, when it was using the  dossier to justify domestic spying on Hillary Clinton’s opposition.

“Did the court assume bias on the part of Mr. Steele or the funders of his research, as courts regularly do when considering evidence supporting a request for a warrant? The memo doesn’t say.”

The court couldn’t consider bias, since it was not fully informed about the origins of the dossier.

4. “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” Maybe I am being too much like Anne Frank,myself, but I do believe that this effort to pretend what was done by the FBI, the Justice Department, and quite possibly the Obama Administration itself to use its power illicitly to harass and abuse the opposing party’s Presidential campaign will fail, and that there will be serious consequences to those responsible, and those, including the media, who have allied themselves with the unconscionable disinformation effort we are seeing now.

42 Comments

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42 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/3/18: On The Nunes Memo, The Times Flunks (Another) Integrity Check.

  1. Chris marschner

    For all those decrying the memo such that it serves to undermine the public’s faith in our law enforcement institutions why are they not equally outraged at the attempts to undermine the validity of a duly elected president.

    Isn’t the election of a president an institution of greater significance. Obviously, protecting institutions all depends on which side you are on.

    • Other Bill

      And when have the Dems and the media EVER been on the side of the FBI or the intelligence community? They love Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden and the Berrigans and Deep Throat and Oliver North.

    • Inquiring Mind

      But he was the wrong president. It was supposed to be Hillary.

      In a very real sense, I think the country dodged a bullet when Hillary lost the 2008 Democratic primaries. If she had been in office, I think the IRS scandal, as well as Fast and Furious (plus others) would have been far worse. Furthermore, what she would have done to silence dissent would have gone far beyond what Obama did.

  2. Other Bill

    This may be the light at the end of the tunnel. Just last night, my wife said, completely unsolicited, of all the post election inanity: “I’m really tired of all this. I wish it would just stop.” This from a woman who hardly ever has a word to say about things political and constantly badgers me about paying too much attention to such things.

    • Rusty Rebar

      I am hearing the same thing. People saying this Russia thing is looking more and more like nothing. They are not totally on-board with the memo, and are mostly in a “I have lost faith in our government” kind of space. They think that Trump has some ties that seem close to Russia, but that this whole witch hunt has gone too far. These are MSNBC/CNN watching people.

  3. Other Bill

    Jack you are SO wrong about the Watergate comparison. Carl Bernstein, the man himself, says so. McCabe’s firing proves it! It’s the Monday Night Slaughter!

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/01/29/carl_bernstein_mccabe_ouster_from_fbi_the_monday_night_slaughter.html

    I mean, whom should we trust? Carl Berstein or our lyin’ eyes?

  4. At the heart of this is a bunch of sore losers.

  5. adimagejim

    Criminal, authoritarian, elitist sore losers with the subversive institutional authority to undo any of us they’d like. Eff them.

  6. Conservative blogger Roger Simon will be dismissed as biased (which he is) but it’s hard to disagree with some of his points:

    “Adam Schiff, Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, among seemingly dozens of Democrats, not to mention half the mainstream media, had been warning us for days that the release of the memo authored by Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee would place our national security at grave risk. “Sources and methods” would be revealed.

    Now that we have seen the memo, it’s clear that was an absolutely bald-faced lie of the most obvious sort. Nothing in it impacts national security in the slightest. There’s no mention whatsoever of any “sources and methods.”

    Unless they were lobotomized, those Democrats and their dependable PR team (aka the media) must have realized they were blatantly lying to the American public. Evidently, they didn’t care. How’re we now supposed to trust what these people say about anything? Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus….It seems this particular lie was a last line of defense — for now — against a coming potential Armageddon for their party. This memo, bad as it is, is apparently only the first of many, a small percentage of what is to come. And the Democrats know it….A few journalists (not at CNN, but maybe someplace else) might have to report the truth. It happened with Watergate. Republicans turned against Nixon. But, of course, they’re “the stupid party.”

    But speaking of stupid, something else occurred that few are mentioning, but may be of more significance than anything. What were these FISA judges thinking who allowed for the surveillance? They actually read the Steele dossier, one would assume. Were they imbeciles or as biased as McCabe, Strzok and the rest of that seedy FBI cabal? Whether they were told that document came from the Clinton campaign or not, it read like an outtake from the back pages of the National Enquirer …The dossier was ludicrous on its face, yet the supposedly great legal minds of the FISA court accepted it as what appears to be the most important evidence for the case.

    Think about that.

    What we need, obviously, is the old word transparency. The public needs to see the full details of what went into the FISA decisions — and we don’t need to hear any of that fake palaver about national security. Everybody’s security depends on the FISA court working in a one-hundred percent unbiased manner. Otherwise we’re living a nightmare.

    That court, and its workings, and its personnel should be a key part of any investigation going forward. New rules and regulations have to be put in place.

    FINALLY: Looking good in all this is Senator Rand Paul. He warned us about our fragile privacy. Looking especially bad, the American Civil Liberties Union who are defecating on their charter. Looking even worse: Barack Obama. He led the charge to turn the intelligence agencies against the people. Looking lost — Robert Mueller. How will he get half the country to believe anything he says at this point?

    • Rusty Rebar

      Now that we have seen the memo, it’s clear that was an absolutely bald-faced lie of the most obvious sort. Nothing in it impacts national security in the slightest. There’s no mention whatsoever of any “sources and methods.”

      Looking at the “Top Secret / NOFORN” designation that the memo was classified really makes you wonder… keeping the above sentence in mind. Why exactly was this memo classified as such? Are we using classification to protect the political class from embarrassment and scandal?

      The fact that this information was classified as Top Secret is damning on its own, aside from what information the memo revealed… such that it did.

  7. My theory on the Trump-Russia stuff is largely unchanged. I think Trump likes Putin because he likes strong/authoritarian leadership. I think the Russians tried to influence the election, and they reached out to some Trump campaign figures, who may or may not have bumbled their way across some legal lines. And that’s about it. I’m not going to buy any big conspiracy theory unless we get tapes or confessions.

    That said…

    “James Comey, who was head of the FBI at the time, described the memo to Congress, under oath, as “salacious and unverified.” Gee, I’d say that description strongly suggests that dossier was “found to be inaccurate,” wouldn’t you?”

    No. There’s a difference between saying that an assertion of fact has not been verified and saying that it’s false. If the dossier is internally inconsistent, or if there are better sources of information that contradict it, then you could say it’s been found inaccurate. Otherwise it’s just uncorroborated. As far as I know, there are parts of the dossier that sound fishy to some knowledgeable members of the intelligence community, but none of it has been refuted at this time, at least not in public. Obviously, that doesn’t prove it correct, but it doesn’t prove that it was filled with lies either.

    “…what was done by the FBI, the Justice Department, and quite possibly the Obama Administration itself to use its power illicitly to harass and abuse the opposing party’s Presidential campaign…”

    They were harassing and abusing the opposing party’s Presidential campaign by beginning surveillance of a guy who was no longer part of the Trump campaign? Three weeks before the election? And not telling anyone? What is it you think they were trying to do?

    • The point about Comey’s statement is valid, and I should have put it better. But as a lawyer, you can’t present evidence as evidence when you don’t know if it is true, or have reason to suspect that it might not be. So whether you know it’s untrue, or don’t know that it is true, that doesn’t matter n practical terms: it’s not legitimate evidence.

      • As to your last point, here is a relevant comment from Althouse’s blog:

        Why did Shiff resist so furiously the publication of the Nunez memorandum?

        Because before the revisions demanded by DOJ/FBI, the memorandum explained that Carter Page already had been investigated for a long time — for months and even years — under FISA’s Title VII. In that status, the FBI was limited to treating Page as a US Person who was being contacted by Russia’s Intelligence service.

        If the public understood that the Fusion dossier provided the extra “evidence” that DOJ/FBI needed to elevate Page from merely Title VII up to Title I, then the public might push much more critically for more revelations about the real role played in this development by DOJ/FBI.

        Right now, Shiff, the Deep State and its media mouthpieces have duped the public into thinking mistakenly that the Fusion dossier merely authorized the FBI to investigate Carter Page because he was being contacted by the Russian Intelligence service.

        In fact, the FBI already had been authorized long ago to investigate Page from that perspective. For a long time already, the FBI had been authorized to capture all communications between Page and suspected agents of the Russian Intelligence service.

        The public still is far from understanding that the DOJ/FBI wanted much more authorization — to treat Page as an AGENT and thus to capture all communications between Page and any US persons in accordance with FISA’s Title I.

        Now that Shiff and the Deep State have managed to revise Nunez’s memorandum, they will make a big deal that the DOJ/FBI had good grounds — even without the dossier — to investigate Page. After all, the DOJ/FBI had evidence that the Russian Intelligence service might have tried to recruit Page to become an agent of the Russian Intelligence service.

        What Shiff and the Deep State do not want the public to understand is that the dossier enabled the DOJ/FBI to convince the FISA judge that Page indeed had become an agent of the Russian Intelligence service.

        Since Page had become an agent, all his communications with any other US persons could be captured by the FBI. Furthermore, those other US persons’ subsequent communications could be captured too.

        Mueller is taking the position that whether someone was formally still with the campaign or not, they still may have had substantive contact with the candidate or the campaign.

        • Chris

          I think I’m getting this now–didn’t they do this on The Good Wife? The NSA started by spying on just Peter Florrick, but eventually made the argument that they needed to spy on his wife and everyone who worked with his wife too?

          I can see why this is alarming, even though my subjective opinion is that Page is shady as hell and needed to be monitored, and that his presence on the Trump campaign casts suspicion on them. That’s my primary concern, but if the FISA warrant wasn’t justified then that does have troubling implications for all of our civil rights.

          I also agree with you that the Democrats’ argument that the memo would jeopardize national security turned out to be bogus, and was always disingenuous.

          • Rusty Rebar

            if the FISA warrant wasn’t justified then that does have troubling implications for all of our civil rights.

            Especially when we consider the kerfuffle that Trump started with his “wiretap” tweet, that was later confirmed widely that “Trump Tower” was being surveilled. And then that Susan Rice (and others) had unmasked US Persons.

            So, they get a FISA warrant to surveil Page, and then using that justification were able to get all communications related to the Trump campaign, and then unmask those… and on top of all this. leak what they found to media sources.

            • Chris

              You are misinformed. It has never been confirmed that Trump Tower was surveilled. The claim that this has been confirmed is fake news.

              • Of course, Washington Post, now CNN, hack reporter Chris Cilliza pronounced it “fake news” that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for the Russian dossier. A lot of what we now think is fake news is reallynews journalists would either not like us to know, or that they are too lazy and biased to properly investigate.

                • Chris

                  Your anti-anti-Trump bias is making you think that comment is at all relevant, when in reality it’s non-responsive spin. It is fake news now to claim that it has been confirmed that Trump Tower has been wiretapped, when it has not been confirmed. Whether it may be confirmed some time in the future is immaterial to whether that claim is fake news now. Obviously. I know you really really want it to be true that Trump Tower was wiretapped, because your hostility to the past administration grows every time the current one is attacked, even when those attacks are fair. But as of now, we have no reason to believe this happened.

                  • Bite me. NOTHING could increase my contempt for the incompetence and Chicago-style corruption of the Obama administration, as well as the complicity of the news media in enabling it. The Get-Trump exercises by the Deep State Obama left behind just carry on the tradition.

        • Chris

          “James Comey, who was head of the FBI at the time, described the memo to Congress, under oath, as “salacious and unverified.” Gee, I’d say that description strongly suggests that dossier was “found to be inaccurate,” wouldn’t you?”

          Jack, this is why you should read the primary sources rather than relying on a partisan memo.

          James Comey did not say that the memo was “salacious and unverified,” as the memo falsely claims, and as you were misled to believe. He said that parts of the memo were salacious and unverified. He also strongly suggested in the same interview that some parts had been verified.

          Note that my argument here isn’t partisan spin. I found this by Googling “Comey salacious and unverified” and found a link to conservative blogger Allahpundit, which took me to a link by conservative blogger Patterico, both of whom made the same argument and quoted Comey directly to correct the false claim in the memo.

          Here’s the Patterico link:

          https://www.redstate.com/patterico/2018/02/02/significant-inaccuracy-thememo-calls-credibility-question/

          • Chris

            More from that link:

            Indeed. The real issue, which Nunes’s memo does not shed any real light on (and indeed almost purposefully obscures) is a) what specific parts of the dossier were used in the FISA application, and b) were those parts verified. As to those questions, we’re no closer to a real answer today than we were yesterday — except that if Nunes could give us chapter and verse, his presentation would be more convincing. And yet, he doesn’t.

            Remember: Nunes is someone who already showed himself to be of questionable credibility when it came to defending Trump’s claim that Obama wiretapped him. Now he’s misrepresenting public testimony that anyone can read. Yet we’re supposed to believe his summary of a still-classified FISA warrant based on these broad-brush smears?

            Nope. No sale. I said before that it’s a terrible hashtag, but #ReleaseTheDocumentation — specifically the FISA application. If you don’t do that, I have no interest.

          • I addressed this, Chris. From a credibility standpoint, there is no difference. It is like “Fire and Fury.” And I read Comey’s entire testimony. A document that contains fabrications, rumors, fiction and lies is bad evidence, and inherently untrustworthy. The entire dossier, by the way, is salacious.

            • I’m amused that you chose to adopt the much-quoted Paterico rebuttal from RedState. It is not just forced and speculative, it is self contradictory.He says the Nunes memo calls its legitimacy into question by an arguably inaccurate interpretation of what Comey said—Comey did not, in fact, say that any of the dossier had been verified, but did say that some parts were unverified and salacious. But if Nunes’ error, in Paterico’s mind, calls his whole memo into question, then why doesn’t the presence of unverified and salacious allegations in the dossier call the whole dossier into question by the same logic, meaning that Nunes’ assertion isn’t an inaccuracy after all?

              Spinspinspinspin, Chris. The news media and the resistance are attacking the memo because it looks terrible, and it looks terrible because the FISA matter was handled unethically and stinking of bias or worse, and it would not have been handled like that if something wasn’t terribly, dangerously wrong in the upper echelons of the FBI and Justice—which was pretty obvious anyway: Lynch, Yates, McCabe, Comey. Too bad Mueller wasn’t smart enough to insulate his investigation from the conflicts and appearances of impropriety that arise from such unethical professionals, but that’s his fault, not the fault of those who bring it to the public’s attention.

              • Chris

                But if Nunes’ error, in Paterico’s mind, calls his whole memo into question, then why doesn’t the presence of unverified and salacious allegations in the dossier call the whole dossier into question by the same logic, meaning that Nunes’ assertion isn’t an inaccuracy after all?

                The dossier was a collection of intel that Christopher Steele had acquired from various sources–I’m not sure what the DOJ claimed when using the dossier as support for the FISA warrant, but I don’t think Steele ever claimed that every single piece of info was absolutely correct. Nunes’ memo is intended to be a statement of fact. His statement that Comey claimed the dossier as a whole was “salacious and unverified” was false, and his claims that McCabe said there’d be no warrant without the dossier, as well as his claim that the DOJ did not tell the courts that the dossier was politically motivated, are completely unverified. All we have is Nunes’ word that this is what happened, and given that he misrepresented what Comey said, and provided no primary source documentation for these other claims, there is no reason to believe anything in the memo is true at all.

                I think that’s materially different from the Steele dossier; we have no reason to believe Steele outright lied in the dossier, only that some of his sources might have, and some of the dossier’s claims–including some about Carter Page, the target of the FISA warrant who we now know was a Kremilin adviser–have been confirmed.

                http://www.newsweek.com/trump-russia-dossier-one-year-later-what-we-know-777116

                • UGH.

                  The dossier was a collection of intel that Christopher Steele had acquired from various sources–

                  it’s not “intel” if its not true. You just described “fire and Fury.”

                  I’m not sure what the DOJ claimed when using the dossier as support for the FISA warrant, but I don’t think Steele ever claimed that every single piece of info was absolutely correct.

                  Equivocation. If the document is not reliable, then it can’t be used to acquire a warrant.

                  “Nunes’ memo is intended to be a statement of fact. His statement that Comey claimed the dossier as a whole was “salacious and unverified” was false, and his claims that McCabe said there’d be no warrant without the dossier, as well as his claim that the DOJ did not tell the courts that the dossier was politically motivated, are completely unverified”

                  They can’t be verified because the source material is classified. Nice for the cover up! It will come out in an investigation. Again, Comey described some of the information as salacious and unverified, and refused to say whether any of it was verified. Nunes interpretation of that was misleading, but as I said, and stand by, it is enough to raise questions about whether the document should have been part of the request at all, quite apart from its origins.

                  . All we have is Nunes’ word that this is what happened, and given that he misrepresented what Comey said, and provided no primary source documentation for these other claims, there is no reason to believe anything in the memo is true at all.

                  Again, by that standards, nothing in the dossier can be trusted as well. The reason, however, to believe the memo about a piece of Democratic opposition research being used to spy on Carter Page is a matter of record. That’s what happened. It was misconduct, unethical, evidence of abuse of power, strongly suggest another political use of a supposedly non-political agency, suggest conflicts of interest at high levels of Justice, and the public has a right to know when their law enforcement agencies try to mess with elections, or appear to be.

              • Chris

                Spinspinspinspin, Chris. The news media and the resistance are attacking the memo because it looks terrible,

                Ad hom doesn’t really work when it’s blatantly untrue. Allahpundit and Patterico aren’t part of the news media or the Resistance. They are center-right, like you.

                • That’s irrelevant. There are always outliers. I’ve read both; they are wrong, and I explained why.
                  Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s former pollster, has endorsed the seriousness of what the memo suggests, as has liberal Geraldo Rivera, who is apparently still a lawyer. You can appeal to authority all day. I’ve made my own assessment. I don’t even know who Allahpundit is, since he doesn’t have the guts to use his own name.

                  Anyone with functioning ethics alarms would immediately know that a Democratic administration using undisclosed opposition research paid for by a Democratic candidate who was in that administration in a key position, to seek a warrant to surveil a member of the Republican candidate’s inner circle would look sinister, because it IS sinister.

                  And you just used “ad hominem” incorrectly AGAIN.

                  • Chris

                    That’s irrelevant. There are always outliers. I’ve read both; they are wrong, and I explained why, which you have chosen to ignore.

                    I didn’t ignore it. I explained why I thought you were wrong right above the comment you’re replying to.

                    Ad hominem is completely correct in this case; you basically said the only reason to attack the memo is left-wing bias, in a reply to a comment that was based on the analysis of right-wingers.

                    I’d argue anyone with functioning ethics alarms would be as troubled by the fact that Trump had a Russian agent on his staff as with how exactly the warrant against that Russian agent was obtained. It’s possible to be concerned with both. You are only concerned with one, because of your bias.

                    • You really don’t know what ad hominem is, do you?

                      I repeat: the wave of furious spinning and denying—like you are doing—including the outright lie that the memo risked national security, is the product of the “Protect Obama”? “Get Trump” left-wing bias. Those without that bias don’t have that excuse. They are just wrong.

                    • You also inspired me to read all of Allahpundits tweets about the memo. He hasn’t debunked anything. He says that Trump and other are over-hyping it, which is correct. He says Gowdy shouldn’t have supported its release if he didn’t think it affects the Mueller investigation: 1) he’s wrong and 2) I think Gowdy is being disingenuous. He also apparently never heard of the appearance of impropriety, but then I don’t think he’s a government ethics speacialist

                    • PS: I removed that part of my comment as soon as I saw your earlier response, but you got it before I did the edit.

                    • Chris

                      I agree that the claim that the memo jeopardized national security was an outright lie.

  8. And this, from Althouse:
    “And it’s an old exercise, and I hate to trot out clichés, but imagine if the Bush Justice Department had used the FISA court to get a warrant to surveil people on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign by using evidence that came from someone paid by the RNC and the John McCain campaign and the application for the warrant had omitted naming the RNC and the John McCain campaign.”

    I’d love to hear from one of our “No, the news media is objective and non-partisan” commenters make the case that the news media would have treated Ann’s hypothetical the way they are treating the Nunes memo..

    • Chris

      I’m not going to comment on the appropriateness of the FISA warrant until I have more facts, but I’m curious: what was the responsibility of the judge here? The argument seems to be that the DOJ deceived the judge by not telling them the source of the dossier. This may be a totally ignorant question, but is it not the judge’s responsibility to ask where such evidence came from if the DOJ didn’t come right out and tell them? Is the theory that the judge was biased against Trump too, or was acting in a corrupt manner by authorizing a FISA warrant that never should have been authorized?

  9. Isaac

    It’s all moving so fast that one can’t even take a breather to appreciate that Trump was actually right about being wiretapped. What a world.

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