Democrats last year smeared Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) when he issued a memo with findings that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process when it obtained surveillance warrants on Carter Page, a member of the Trump campaign, in 2016.
However, a report released Monday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz provided a damning indictment of the FBI’s use of the FISA process that vindicated Nunes’s memo and proved Democrats’ smears and assertions were false.
Nunes’s memo included the findings that 1) “material and relevant information was omitted” in applications for FISA warrants; 2) the FBI inaccurately stated in their FISA warrant applications that ex-British spy Christopher Steele was not a source for a Yahoo News report used in the applications; 3) Steele maintained contact with the FBI even after being fired as a source; 4) the FBI did not corroborate the Steele dossier at the time it was included in the applications; and 5) the FISA applications for Page mentioned former campaign aide George Papadopoulos, even though there was no conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos.
The DOJ IG’s report confirmed every finding in Nunes’s memo.
Yet, Democrats tried to prevent the publishing of Nunes’s memo and had made numerous claims that Nunes’s memo was furthering a “conspiracy” or was “dangerous.”
In January 2019, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) wrote in the Washington Post that Nunes’s memo outlining concerns of FISA abuse “crosses a dangerous line.”
The Nunes memo is designed to do just that by furthering a conspiracy theory that a cabal of senior officials within the FBI and the Justice Department were so tainted by bias against President Trump that they irredeemably poisoned the investigation.
Schiff tweeted on July 22, 2018, “the FBI acted lawfully and appropriately” and called Nunes’s memo “fraudulent.”
The release of the Carter Page FISA application makes clear, once again, the FBI acted lawfully and appropriately.
This hasn’t stopped the President and Republicans from repeating the same fraudulent taking points in the discredited Nunes memo.
Sadly, some things never change: https://t.co/b4JPj86Mka
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) July 22, 2018
He tweeted on February 28, 2018 that the Nunes memo was “inaccurate, misleading and extraordinarily reckless,” and that there was “no evidence of abuse.”
More important question: Why is the AG asking for a FISA investigation at all? DOJ and FBI already said the Nunes memo was inaccurate, misleading and extraordinarily reckless. With no evidence of abuse, only explanation is political pressure. https://t.co/4zz9HcwrY5
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 28, 2018
Failed 2020 Democrat nominee Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) also got in on the smearing, telling the Post on January 29, 2018, that Nunes’s memo is a grossly distorted attack on the Mueller probe, designed to “brainwash” people into erroneous conclusions.
Swalwell called the memo “a perversion of the facts to brainwash our members and protect the president.”
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) said on February 2, 2018 in a statement it was “terrifying” to “watch Republican leadership enable to spread” a false narrative to save Trump:
From the implication that our intelligence agencies are a part of some ‘Deep State’ conspiracy to help the Democrats, to the willful manipulation and misstatement of key facts in the Russia investigation, the President – and those working with him – is eroding the very cornerstones of our democracy and slow-walking us into a constitutional crisis.
She also accused Republicans of overplaying their hand and creating a “frenzy” about this memo, according to a February 2, 2018, Politico article. “Republicans have overplayed their hand, and they have created a frenzy about this memo,” she said.
She also called the memo a “pack of lies, according to a Los Angeles Times piece on January 19, 2018.
There were no shortage of other accusatory remarks by Democrats who are responsible for the oversight of the intelligence community or Justice Department.
Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) said on NPR on January 28, 2018, that Nunes’s memo was “just the latest installment in the long campaign to try to delegitimize the FBI and the Department of Justice and Bob Mueller.”
“It makes allegations that are unfounded. It’s full of factual inaccuracies,” he claimed.
He also called Nunes’s memo “shoddy and dishonest” in a February 2018 tweet:
— Jim Himes (@jahimes) February 2, 2018
He also mocked Nunes’s memo in another tweet:
“The Nunes memo is to (intelligence committee) oversight what tuna-fish is to a tennis racket. They’re not even in the same phylum.” https://t.co/SGLyYyJlGh
— Jim Himes (@jahimes) February 7, 2018
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), who sits on the Intelligence Committee, claimed in a February 2, 2018, statement that Nunes’s memo “represents a shameful effort to undermine Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation and potential findings.”
He claimed, “This is a clear breakdown in the way the House Intelligence Committee conducts oversight of the intelligence community, representing uncharted territory and a constitutional crisis ahead.”
He also claimed the memo was a “political document” and a “partisan document” that “Fox News and Breitbart will make the kind of deal about that Donald Trump would like to see.”
Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) called the release of Nunes’s memo “absolutely disgraceful,” in a January 30, 2018, statement.
“It is absolutely disgraceful that Republicans are willing to undermine our Intelligence Community and our investigation into Russia’s attack on our democracy all in the name of defending President Trump,” she said.
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), claimed in a January 30, 2018, tweet that Nunes’s memo is “foolish, dangerous, and an obvious distraction”
The #NunesMemo won't make any sense without the classified intelligence that was used to compile it. This is foolish, dangerous, and an obvious distraction to undermine our investigation. As a former professor, here is my analogy: pic.twitter.com/tARtdWZvCs
— Mike Quigley (@RepMikeQuigley) January 30, 2018
He later tweeted on February 5, 2018, that the Nunes memo “doesn’t vindicate the president”:
— Mike Quigley (@RepMikeQuigley) February 5, 2018
He then touted a counter-memo by Democrats that claimed the FBI did nothing wrong:
In addition to correcting glaring inaccuracies in the #NunesMemo, I believe that when people read the Democratic memo it will enhance the credibility of our #RussiaInvestigation. pic.twitter.com/yNZupPdk5L
— Mike Quigley (@RepMikeQuigley) February 5, 2018
Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) on February 2, 2018, called the memo “full of inaccuracies and misleading statements.”
“It is a memo designed to achieve only one purpose, and that is to discredit the investigation. It cherry-picks its facts and it is full of inaccuracies and misleading statements,” Heck claimed.
Nunes took a victory lap on Monday after the release of the report, tweeting:
“Looks like DOJ IG Report is clear that Republican FISA abuse memo from February 2018 was accurate and actually understated the FISA abuse the dirty cops engaged in. Time for FISA court to take action!”
Looks like DOJ IG Report is clear that Republican FISA abuse memo from February 2018 was accurate and actually understated the FISA abuse the dirty cops engaged in. Time for FISA court to take action!
— Devin Nunes (@DevinNunes) December 9, 2019
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