Heads Up: Partisan Disinformation Incoming

Apparently Congressman Nunes, or folks working for/with him on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, have produced a four page memo alleging significant abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the Obama Administration, specifically the Department of Justice and the FBI, against Republicans. The memo is supposedly classified. This has led to the creation of a release the memo hashtag (click at your own risk of sanity). This would seem to explain Sean Hannity’s opening tease on Fox News tonight:

Two of Florida’s GOP Congressmen, DeSantis and Gaetz, are having a public bout of high dudgeon on twitter over it:

As is New York GOP Congressman Lee Zeldin:

It is hard to get decent info at this point, but if I’m following all this correctly the memo being referred to is the result of Congressman Nunes’ monomania regarding lawful unmasking by the Obama Administration in 2015 and 2016 and the attempt to create a controversy and scandal over FISA violations as reported by the chronically wrong and easily duped John Solomon at The Hill, as well as his equally odious, one sided, and misleading reporting on the text messages between two FBI officials during the campaign.

Wikileaks has, of course, gotten in on the action and is offering a bounty.

All of this is an attempt to further dirty up the FBI and by extension Special Counselor Mueller. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the transcripts of their interviews with FUSION GPS head Glenn Simpson. Which, as was the case with the one released by Senator Feinstein, basically knocks down and rebuts all of the GOP talking points about what is going on with the Mueller investigation. The 8 November 2017 transcript is here.

HPSCI_Simpson_Transcript1

And the 14 November 2017 transcript is here.

HSPCI_Simpson_Transcript2

Since these basically shoot everything Congressman Nunes, Congressman Gaetz, Congressman DeSantis, Congressman Jordan, and several other GOP members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Oversight, Justice, or other committees have been saying about the Special Counsel and his investigation and the FBI’s role in the counterintelligence investigation pertaining to the President that was begun in July 2016, they needed to do something to change the narrative. Enter the four page classified memo supposedly alleging that the Obama Administration, the DOJ, the FBI, and other parts of the US Intel Community were all conspiring against Republicans and conservatives in general and the President, his businesses, and his campaign in specific. Leaked to Fox News and teed up for Sean Hannity’s diatribe for an audience of one this evening. Given what happened the last time that Congressman Nunes tried to get creative in screening fire for the President, I fully expect that if this memo is ever declassified it won’t survive first contact with the actual subject matter experts the news media brings in to consult on it. Except, of course, for Fox News, talk radio, the alt-right news media (Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, etc) and social media crowd, Wikileaks, RT, and Sputnik. They’ll all, amazingly, have the exact same talking points. As will the White House, the President on twitter, and the aforementioned GOP members of Congress. This amount of coincidence takes a lot of work!

As Senator Burr said about Congressman Nunes’ unmasking obsession:

“The unmasking thing was all created by Devin Nunes,” Burr said, “and I’ll wait to go through our full evaluation to see if there was anything improper that happened. But clearly there were individuals unmasked. Some of that became public which it’s not supposed to, and our business is to understand that, and explain it.”

I expect a similar conclusion to be reached about his new four page memo if it ever sees the light of day. But it will consume a lot of news media oxygen that could be better spent focused on other things. Like the Congressional GOP’s appropriations woes, the lack of progress on relief for those previously covered by the DACA executive order, the use of CHIP as a hostage, and, of course, Stormy Daniels spanking the President with Forbes magazine.

ETA at 12:55 AM EST

What I’ve delineated above is my best estimate at this time because the Fox News write up was big on hyperbolic comments from GOP members of the House and light on actual factual information. Clicking through to the hashtag just led me to all sorts of incoherent crazy. And I’m NOT watching Hannity!

Stay frosty or warm.

Open thread!

 

67 replies
  1. 1
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Good god.

  2. 2
    JMG says:

    Nunes is begging to wind up in federal prison. Gaetz will probably run over a nun while driving drunk before it gets to that for him.

  3. 3
    Mary G says:

    They are crying wolf for the nth time, and 73% of Americans are over it.

  4. 4
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yep. But I figured I better get this up now because the usual suspects are going to be in rare form about this by tomorrow AM. Forewarned is forearmed.

    Also, I think I’m going to get a nosebleed from diving into this meshugas. It is like a parliament of stupid!

  5. 5
    MisterForkbeard says:

    I can’t even, guys. What the hell?

  6. 6
    Mary G says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Blaming the uppity black woman is their signature move.

  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Apparatchiks are going to apparatchik!

  8. 8
    oatler. says:

    “Kill, kill, kill!”
    just trying to start the next civil war

  9. 9
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @oatler.: Thanks, but no thanks.

  10. 10
    Mike in NC says:

    Bill Kristol on MSNBC talking about $130K hush money paid to Trump’s porn star. On the night before the government shutdown. How low we have fallen.

  11. 11
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @oatler.: We’ll reach out if we need your assistance in the future. Until then don’t wait by the phone.//

  12. 12
    Steeplejack says:

    Small typo: “bought bout of high dudgeon.”

  13. 13
    Ryan says:

    Clearly there are Troubling Signs of misdeeds on Both Sides. Best to pardon Hillary, Comey, and the 94 members of The Trump campaign and/or administration with contact to the Russians, Turks, Chinese; any other nations I’m missing?

  14. 14
    Mike J says:

    If I understand correctly, they’re saying Obama got warrants to listen in on foreign spies and Republicans are pissed off that they were caught on the other end of the phone.

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steeplejack: Thanks. Long day. Did you know today was leg day?

  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike in NC: He’s just upset that Daniels didn’t use The Weekly Standard to spank the President.

  17. 17
    Ryan says:

    @Mike in NC: Is this what they mean by Democrats not having a message other than be anti-Trump? I hope MSNBC can find a little time to talk about DACA and CHIP.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike J: I think so, but it was hard to tell because the Fox News write up was big on hyperbolic comments from GOP members of the House and light on actual factual information. And I’m NOT watching Hannity!

  19. 19
    Mnemosyne says:

    I was wondering why GG and the usual comrades were getting themselves into a lather about the eeeeevvvvviiillllll Demorats and their support for the FISA renewal.

  20. 20
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    I was just having a conversation on Twitter about how we now know Michael Cohen was lying about the deal with Stormy Daniels and what that implies for his trip to Prague as described in the Steele dossier. The relevant fact is that Cohen and all around him, including Trump, were lying and covering up the blackmail. If they were willing to do that, what else are they covering up? Cohen vehemently denied the trip to Prague. Can we believe that? Of course, Mueller has a lot more information and has a much better answer to that and other questions than we do. The information is out there, although we don’t know what he knows and how many holes still remain.

    Applying that to the Nunes thing, we have another bunch of liars demonstrating their willingness to lie at every turn. The bunch in Congress doesn’t seem quite as coordinated as the Family, but they’ve done well.

    A very long time ago, we used to look at what the Russians were publishing in the chemical literature to try to figure out what they weren’t saying. You could see kind of a pattern of information around a hole in the middle, about which we could make some guesses.

    What I see in the information we have about Trump and the Russians is a kind of irregular webbing of information around many holes. Some are starting to take shape. For a while, I couldn’t even come up with narratives. Now there’s a narrative that one can infer from the Steele dossier, and today I can imagine narratives around the NRA.

    Not that those narratives are necessarily correct, but they are something to measure and be measured by subsequent facts.

    Nunes seems like an idiot, but he hasn’t given up his secrets yet. I don’t have a narrative about him.

  21. 21
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I wonder what Seb “Gun, gun, where did I leave my gun” Gorka is going to say about all of this tomorrow on Fox News?

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: We couldn’t sell this stuff as a screenplay for a spy thriller movie or a sit-com for TV.

  23. 23
    Steeplejack says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Yes, and I spared you my leg-press story.

  24. 24
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steeplejack: Feel free to share if you like.

  25. 25
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    So basically they are resorting to creating conspiracy theories to protect themselves. We have this memo as to why we are innocent and why they are really at fault, no you can’t see the memo. Christ.

  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: Which is why I’m not completely convinced they’ll declassify and release it. Because it is likely if they do it won’t hold up.

  27. 27
    Mike J says:

    @Adam L Silverman: FISA is specifically about Foreign Intelligence. You can’t get a FISA warrant because you think a congressman is getting construction kickbacks or any sort of mundane crime like that. You can’t even get a FISA warrant on a congressman if you think he’s a spy. Even espionage is a regular crime that you go to a regular court for a regular warrant. You go to a FISA court [1] to get a tap of a foreign person. Pre-FISA, the feds just didn’t bother with warrants. You only *really* need a warrant if you’re going to introduce evidence in court.

    Funnily, the right wingers seem to have gotten to wikipedia. The article on FISA includes the sentence, “During the Obama Administration, the NSA has allegedly continued operating under the new FISA guidelines despite campaign promises to end warrantless wiretapping.” If they used FISA, they got a warrant.

    [1] FISA courts have regular federal judges doing extra duty. Maybe the most well known FISA judge is CKK.

  28. 28
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That possibility went down the drain a very long time ago.

  29. 29
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike J: No argument here. This is a huge convoluted mess. It conflates what FISA is and what is allowed under it with this bizarre belief that FBI agents and analysts, as well as members of the rest of the Intel Community are querying the database willy nilly. I’ve got Chris Hayes on DVR and just watched Senator Paul make hash of this. Including raising the issue that an FBI agent angry at an ex could, would, and/or has queried the database. I really can’t tell if he honestly believes this or it is just disingenuous bullshit.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a robust discussion of civil liberties and rights and the best way and best practices to do this stuff with proper safeguards. But the discussion we’ve been having, largely based on the crap Snowden and Wikileaks have been pushing, is not that discussion.

  30. 30
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Well if they never release it, the memo can be what ever they want at the moment.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    Steeplejack says:

    Colbert en fuego tonight.

    Q. How many Donald Trumps does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    A. We’ll never know, because after he screws something he gives it $130,000 not to tell anybody.

    Brought down the house.

  33. 33
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mike J: I get upset about warrant-less searches. As the dude from the Dead said, “If you gotta warrant, I guess you’re gonna come in.”

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:

    RE: Enter the four page classified memo supposedly alleging that the Obama Administration, the DOJ, the FBI, and other parts of the US Intel Community were all conspiring against Republicans and conservatives in general and the President, his businesses, and his campaign in specific.

    Wow. That just about covers everything. I know. Let’s amend the Constitution, put Obama back in office and let the Republicans try to impeach him. And then impeach Hillary because of her emails.

    I will give them this: Hannity and Nunes and the Fox News goons know exactly what it takes to make their audience squeal with delight. Obama obviously hates America. And he hates Dear Leader Donald, Chosen by Free Market Jesus and Saint Vlad the Putin.

    ETA. My browser may be acting up again. The bold and quote tool disappeared. Hmmm.

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator:

    ETA. My browser may be acting up again. The bold and quote tool disappeared. Hmmm.

    President Obama used FISA in coordination with the DOJ, the FBI, and Intel Community to screw with your browser. A year after leaving office. The Deep State is everywhere!

  36. 36
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Doesn’t it seem like Trump got wind of this a few days back, probably from his pal Hannity, which made him pop off about FISA?

  37. 37
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @FlipYrWhig: That was Napolitano on Fox and Friends.

  38. 38
    patrick II says:

    I almost admire the chutzpah. Imagine bank robbers starting a political party and then, when planning and participating in a bank robbery, they could claim that any investigation of them would be a politically motivated act and thence illegal and all evidence is evidence against the police for the illegal political act, not evidence of a bank robbery.

  39. 39
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @patrick II: They actually laid the ground work for this back in 2009 when they cried to the heavens, and the Sunday news talking head shows, for President Obama and his administration, as well as the Democratic majorities in Congress to specifically not look into the actions of the Bush 43 Administration in regard to Iraq and Afghanistan an intel and several other things that might at least be unethical if not illegal. This was labeled as not criminalizing policy or politicizing policy (I’m really not sure how that last one works to be honest). Always be working the refs!

  40. 40
    efgoldman says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I really can’t tell if he honestly believes this or it is just disingenuous bullshit.

    Yes

  41. 41
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @efgoldman:

  42. 42
    Swannie says:

    Why don’t we wait to pass judgment until we see what’s in it? #releasethememo

  43. 43
    Wag says:

    @Mike J:

    Well put. Exactly right.

  44. 44
    patrick II says:

    @efgoldman:
    I vote for he believes it. He also believes the gold standard is the answer to our monetary problems. Has McConnell let him go back on Rachel yet since she undressed him over the Civil Rights Act?

  45. 45
    clay says:

    A memo? A memo is, of course, proof of nothing other than the fact that someone wrote something down. Who wrote this memo? What does it say? Who classified it and why? Does it only allege, or does it offer any documentation?

    Is it fully feasible — nay, likely — that this is something Devin Nunes farted out and classified himself to desperately try something, anything to stop Robert Mueller?

    A memo… pshaw. I seem to recall a Senator once had a list.

  46. 46
    tobie says:

    Now we know what Nunes, Gaetz, DeSantis, Gowdy and Jordan did with the information and intelligence that the DOJ and the FBI handed over to the House Intelligence Committee with nary a cry. Dang. I would have hoped that Rosenstein would have put up a fight. Instead he folded like a cheap suit.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Swannie:

    You actually think there’s a real memo?

    You’re adorable.

  48. 48

    @Mnemosyne:
    It’s not that hard to order a staffer to type up four pages of vaguely plausible sounding but substance free bullshit.

  49. 49
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Funny:

    Zeldin,
    Nunes,
    Gaetz,
    DeSantis,

    ALL voted to extend FISA 6 days ago.

    So goes their “worries” over unmasking.

  50. 50
    Steeplejack says:

    I went back and found OzarkHillbilly’s comments about his son’s accident from the Wednesday morning open thread. Reposting them because people keep asking about what happened. This is all that we have heard so far. I will post this tomorrow in a thread for the day shift.

    Wednesday morning at 7:42 EST:

    Gonna be out of pocket for a few days. Heading down to NOLA. My youngest got run over (details are sketchy). Presumably he is still alive (have not heard from his wife since last night). He has displaced fractures in both legs. Hopefully, they can save them. I have no idea of what other injuries he has.

    Right now I am in emotional lock down. I feel nothing. I suppose that will change when I see him.

    Update at 8:42 a.m. EST Wednesday:

    Just got off the phone with my oldest son. CJ is in surgery now. So far the coin keeps flipping the right way and the news keeps getting better. Rare that that happens for this boy.

    Adios, Amigos, Amigas.

  51. 51
    patrick II says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Nunez seems to act as if he has immunity when it has seemed to me that he is actively involved in a conspiracy to obstruct justice. Actually it seems that many if not most republicans in congress are, but Nunez is the most blatant. It seems that congress would scream to high heaven if he was actually indicted for “doing his job” as a congressman, but even congressmen, while given the benefit of the doubt, should be criminally prosecuted if there is clear evidence. I go back to Nixon and his subverting Vietnam peace talks, Reagan and his secret pre-election deal with Iran. But at some point we have to have some laws enforced or a “nation of laws” will no longer exist as Republicans stray further and further over the line.

  52. 52
    gene108 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I have never seen a new administration investigate a past administration. So I can see Obama not investigating Bush, in 2009. There was a lot of questionable things Bush & Co did in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they were good at covering their tracks, and setting up situations, where they have plausible deniability. *

    But now that Republicans want to launch investigations into the the Obama Administration, plus Trump tweets out about locking Hillary up, I want the next Democratic President to go after everyone associated with Trump, including current members of Congress.

    I want all these Russian stooges like Nunes, Tillerson, Ross, Gaetz, etc. in jail, along with the Trump family.

    * Edit: It would be hard to actually nail Bush & Co on actual wrong doing. A special investigator tried and the best he could come up with was Libby lied to him. So even, if Obama investigated, I think very little would have turned up that would lead to actual prosecution of wrong doing.

  53. 53
    Swannie says:

    @Mnemosyne: I will believe there is a memo when I see it. Until then, what is the point of speculating? I just want them to put up or shut up.

  54. 54
    opiejeanne says:

    @Steeplejack: Thanks for the repost and update. I was looking for something about OzarkHillbilly, wondering how things were going.

  55. 55
    Barney says:

    This is just a reboot of McCarthy’s ‘list’, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter if the document doesn’t actually have any relevant content, as long as you can metaphorically wave it around and proclaim “if I could show you this, you’d be shocked to your core ..”.

  56. 56
    SFAW says:

    If we get a Bluenami in November, I’m hoping for a Truth and Tumbrels Commission for the remaining Rethugs. Fuck reconciliation.

  57. 57
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    LOL. Google Rep. Charles Ponzi. Evidently Glenn Reynolds didn’t.

  58. 58
    kindness says:

    Curious how all the tweets following the Florida Congresscritters are pro Trump. There’s a whole lot of block action going on in that Congressman’s tweet world. As if we need more evidence of epistemic closure.

  59. 59
  60. 60
    trnc says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    What I see in the information we have about Trump and the Russians is a kind of irregular webbing of information around many holes. Some are starting to take shape. For a while, I couldn’t even come up with narratives. Now there’s a narrative that one can infer from the Steele dossier, and today I can imagine narratives around the NRA.

    I wondered for a long time how someone could bankrupt 4 casinos until more info about potential money laundering started to come out.

  61. 61
    trnc says:

    @patrick II:

    Imagine bank robbers starting a political party and then, when planning and participating in a bank robbery, they could claim that any investigation of them would be a politically motivated act and thence illegal and all evidence is evidence against the police for the illegal political act, not evidence of a bank robbery.

    “Ah-HA! We can call ourselves the Tea Party! Now, where’s that map?”

  62. 62
    trnc says:

    @Mnemosyne: There’s probably a memo. It was written with a crayon and has traces of meth on it, but it probably exists.

  63. 63
    a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio) says:

    @Adam L Silverman: To quote an acquaintance, coming in contact with an esppppecially egregious piece of nonsense: “This is stupid! This is so stupid it’s leaking stupid everywhere, and now I have stupid all over me!

  64. 64
    NCSteve says:

    The SVR Wikileaks has, of course, gotten in on the action and is offering a bounty.

    FIFY

    @kindness: Is it really epistemic closure if all the other tweeters are Russian ‘bots and trolls?

    I am dead serious about all of this. I am convinced that Nunes is owned by the Russians and suspect the rest of the idiots behind this–Jordan, Meadows, DeSantis, Gaetz, and Zeldin, this are as well. And the fact that all of Russia’s other known and suspected assets–from Sputnik/RT to the ‘bots and trolls, to GG and Wikileaks, are all singing in unison, almost word for word, from the same page of the hymnal makes me strongly suspect that they’ve been actively feeding information to the SVR from the committee and their handlers are making them do this.It’s a forking move, in chess parlance. On one hand, it’s an attempt to make investigating them so radioactive that the FBI will back off, failing that an attempt to undermine the credibility of the evidence if they’re arrested, and, failing that, to at least further set us at each other’s throats and undermine confidence in our institutions.

    And if my little bout of paranoia here is close to accurate, it suggest that the SVR suspects it’s assets in Congress are so close to being lost anyway, it might as well use them for kindling.

  65. 65
    Elie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Do you think, Adam that this is might be a misdirection to distract from indictments that might be coming from Mueller with members of the congress identified? It would seem a logical attempt at protection if you were a congressman who thought you might be a target or named in an indictment. It also sounds desperate….

    My concern is that the rot is very widespread. Cheryl’s point upstring that several stories are forming around several holes seems consistent with broadscale malfeasance where there is a lot of rot and its connected but there is so much the tissue just falls apart. Maybe the problem is its become one big hole instead of many….

  66. 66
    Shana says:

    @gene108: I have said for years that no one associated with the Nixon administration should ever have been allowed to have a government job afterwards. I now add a corollary that when this is over the same goes for the Trump administration.

  67. 67
    central texas says:

    It is also worth keeping in mind that Mr. Nunes was a member of the Trump Transition team and so he may have quite a lot of personal interest in killing the investigation of that collection of incompetents, collaborators, liars, con men, felons, and fools. Odd that our esteemed congress sees fit for him to investigate his own deeds. I wonder just what Mr. Nunes has to hide?

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