Yesterday, The Times* published a story that purports to reveal the central outrage against Trump that inspired his stooge Devin Nunes to write the classified memo currently figuring so prominently in wingnut fever-swamp conspiracy theories. If the reporting is accurate, the intolerable anti-Trump bias the memo reveals is that Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein requested a renewal of FISA authorization for surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser and all-around creepy guy Carter Page:
WASHINGTON — A secret, highly contentious Republican memo reveals that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein approved an application to extend surveillance of a former Trump campaign associate shortly after taking office last spring, according to three people familiar with it.
The renewal shows that the Justice Department under President Trump saw reason to believe that the associate, Carter Page, was acting as a Russian agent. But the reference to Mr. Rosenstein’s actions in the memo — a much-disputed document that paints the investigation into Russian election meddling as tainted from the start — indicates that Republicans may be moving to seize on his role as they seek to undermine the inquiry.
Let’s pause to recall here that Rosenstein, a Republican and Federalist Society member, was the author of the bill of goods against then-FBI Director James Comey, building a case for firing Comey at the behest of Trump and AG Sessions. Rosenstein’s case against Comey was centered on his improper handling of the Clinton email investigation, concluding that Comey had treated Clinton unfairly.
Comey DID treat Clinton unfairly, of course, but it was laughable for Donald “Lock Her Up” Trump to seize on that as an excuse to fire him. Maybe the hypocrisy was too much even for Trump (I keed!) since he quickly abandoned that rationale and straight-up confessed to Lester Holt and his camera crew that he fired Comey to obstruct justice.
So, to recap, the wingnuts who’ve been bellowing like ruptured cows about this memo are actually talking about a document that alleges anti-Trump bias in the form of an application to renew existing surveillance on Carter Fucking Page. As anyone who’s seen Page on the Chris Hayes show knows, he’s a loose cannon and therefore likely to blow up in someone’s face.
But don’t worry: the Nunes brain trust has a backup scapegoat in case their bullshit memo is ever actually released and then rightly laughed off the fucking stage. Their plan is to wail about the unfairness of the funding of the Steele dossier again. Again, via The Times, as linked above:
The memo’s primary contention is that F.B.I. and Justice Department officials failed to adequately explain to an intelligence court judge in initially seeking a warrant for surveillance of Mr. Page that they were relying in part on research by an investigator, Christopher Steele, that had been financed by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Of course, we’ve since learned that the Steele document merely corroborates intelligence forwarded by US allies who grew alarmed as they watched Russian operatives compromise an American election. Pointing fingers at US allies and a Republican Deputy AG who found probable cause to continue to surveil a Trump campaign lackey with a PhD in Russian Shenanigans just underscores the desperation of Nunes & Co. The cupboard must be truly bare if that’s all they can muster.
*Reminder that The Times occasionally reports important stories, even though their Beltway coverage is abysmal and their editorial obtuseness justifies jettisoning subscriptions all by its lonesome.