by A.H. Neff
*This piece was originally posted on Crooks and Liars.
Last Friday, the Republican majority of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released “the Nunes Memo.” Weighing in at four pages, the Memo attacked the justification for a U.S. counter-intelligence investigation of Carter Page. It implied that the Trump-Russia investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller was purely political and legally groundless. Consequently, large swaths of the media, legal and political classes, and public are again focused on the fate of Mueller.
There are comprehensive refutations of the memo’s attack, including this one. The best refutation comes from the Nunes memo itself, which says this in its last paragraph: “The Papadopoulos information [that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton] triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok.”
Nevertheless, Trump claims the Nunes Memo vindicates him. Urged on by his allies in Congress, on FOX News, and in other right-wing cheering sections, Trump apparently wants to use the memo to halt the investigation - a process that probably would begin with firing Rosenstein.