Initial thoughts on House Memo

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) memo on FISA abuse was, as expected, released today.  No matter how you slice it, this is an incredibly troubling memo.  No one can read this memo and say it doesn’t matter.  Either its true, and we have momentous scandal unfolding, or its not true, and the Republicans have fabricated incredible lies to cover up for Mr. Trump, or some combination thereof.  You can (and should) read the memo yourself, and I’m not going today to offer any analysis of the specific allegations.  But here are some thoughts to get the discussion going.  I’m not an expert, but I should note that I previously worked with the HPSCI while in Legislative Liaison in the Air Force, and was cleared for the type of information that would have been behind this.  So I’m somewhat familiar with the security protocols that would be involved.

  1.  Democrats have been howling for weeks over the release of this information, for the most part saying it is incredibly damaging to national security as it will compromise sources and methods.  After reading the memo, I find no basis for this.  I would like to see what portion of the memo does so–after all, at this point, if such a release has been done, pointing out which section does so is not likely to cause any further risk.  As it is, I consider this line of defense as simply muddying the waters.  And for the Democrats to protest their concern over the risk to national security, when they had no such concern over Mrs. Clinton’s illegal handling of highly classified emails on a home-brewed server, seems disingenuous.
  2. As the amplitude of the criticisms increased prior to the release, I could only think of the Air Force adage that you don’t take flack until you are near the target.
  3. Further, I keep hearing Former Majority Leader Dick Armey’s quote, “Democrats are always doing what they are accusing Republicans of doing”.  Was there a political party that engaged with the Russians to try to defeat their political opponent?  Which party was that again?
  4. While the national security risk is implausible, it could of course be true that the HPSCI memo omits many pertinent facts and selectively bends facts to paint an untrue picture.  We can’t know this without seeing more information.  The Democratic response will no doubt be declassified in time, and we should see more.
  5. This strikes me as big–I suspect we are going to see this result in far more information being released and potentially major political drama.  The stakes are high, and the Democrats are even now doubling down.
  6. If Nunes’ facts are true, I think he has been exceptionally shrewd.  Unlike what we’ve seen everywhere else, he kept the memo under wraps with no leaks.  He apparently followed all protocols for the release, and the long process only increased the anticipation.  And when it came out, it is explosive.  If its not true, it will be highly damaging to the Republicans and Mr. Trump.
  7. Finally, it is with sadness that all of us watch this show.  I was privileged to work in Congress in earlier times, and took both CW Jane Harman and CM Silvestre Reyes (Ranking Minority members) and other members of the HPSCI on congressional trips.  They all took their national security responsibilities seriously.  Further, I could detect almost no daylight between Republicans and Democrats during my time (2002-2004).  But we’re now in a different world–Adam Schiff is not a Jane Harman.

It is premature to make a judgment about the veracity of a story.  Even now the counters are emerging, even among conservatives.  Let’s remember the wisdom of Proverbs:

The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him

Hold on to this story, I don’t think its going away.

56 thoughts on “Initial thoughts on House Memo”

  1. Dr. Haymond,

    I agree with #1. I read over the memo and I see nothing to justify the “it will damage national security” argument..
    I liked the way you phrased #2.
    I also agree with #6 and #7 and the closing remark. It will be interesting to see where this leads.

  2. Pardon my ignorance, but how much classified information do Congresspeople ever get access to? How much more can really come out of this issue, and how much could these committees have access to?

    1. Carter
      For the most part, unless their oversight extends over agencies that deal with classified materials, they don’t get that much access. Members of the intelligence committees are cleared for most things. But a general rule is the more sensitive a matter is, the fewer people would have clearance. And importantly, having even the highest clearance may not give you access–you must have a “need to know.” This is true across government, executive and legislative branches.

  3. I think number 2 comes across a bit too blunt to be useful as an adage. Couldn’t anyone say that about anyone who wants to argue about anything? Couldn’t we say the same about Trump trying to fire Mueller, or being openly critical of the press? It’s akin to ‘have you stopped beating your wife?’

    1. It may not be applicable…its certainly my opinion. But my logic is this: if the Republicans and the House had nothing, then why the hysteria? Why not let them release it and do the Comey line, “is this it?” I think Mr. Comey really harmed his public persona because these charges I believe will be seen as very serious by most non-partisan observers. The question now cannot be, does this matter? It can only be, is this true?

      Remember also, its not the rank and file FBI/DOJ people in the crosshairs. It’s those closer to political process. I’m not ready to agree that the memo is true (or at least painting a complete picture), but my opinion is also informed by the Obama Administration previously unleashing the IRS on conservatives. Its also informed by the sitting Attorney General meeting with Mr. Clinton for 30 minutes on the tarmac in the middle of Mrs. Clinton’s possible indictment. Do I believe that the highest levels of the Obama Administration would use their political position to harm their political enemies? Unfortunately I do–in your analogy, I would like them to stop beating their wives.

      1. What charges? Who are they against? All I’m hearing is that there’s no way to know how serious any of this is without declassifying the context for the memo, which no one supports. I’m all for acknowledging that people are politicizing this, which is probably horrible for investigations going forward, but I don’t buy that this is all from one side. Republicans were hyping this up at least as long as Democrats were downplaying it.

        Which non-partisan observers are you thinking of? I think that’s what frightens me the most: The longer this show goes on, the more disconnected we all get from a shared reality. I am worried that many people on both sides are no longer interested in the truth, and more interested in information that comports with their opinions.

        Leaving aside of course that Trump appointees have said this memo misrepresents the facts, who do you think is implicated? The FISA court? Someone in the FBI? Mueller?

        As a side note, what do you think should have happened to Clinton? She’s been investigated what, 7, 8 times at this point?

      2. The memo says (based on a statement by a deputy director) that the Steele dossier was the only ‘source’ there was for granting the warrant on Carter Page and the subsequent renewals. Steele himself clearly was partisan for Clinton and was paid by her campaign to obtain derogatory info on Trump. Neither the application or renewals referenced this despite senior FBI/DOJ officials knowing it. A lie of omission. The application also cited an article based on information leaked by Steele to support his own dossier. He maintained contact with some of these officials after he was terminated. This same dossier was described in June 2016 by Comey as “salacious and unverified”. So he signed off on a FISA application multiple times to order surveillance on a US citizen based solely on a partisan dossier he himself said was “salacious and unverified”. There’s a definition for that. Dishonest and corrupt. It is very much feasible to say this could be on par with, or exceed, Watergate. And this may not be all we find out.

      3. Daniel,

        It says no such thing. It says the dossier was ‘an essential part’ of the process, but admits that Page was already under investigation and, implicitly in calling it a ‘part’ that there were other factors. In fact, it even tells us at least one other factor that has been cited since: George Papadopoulos’ comments that the Russians had ‘dirt’ on Hillary. The accusation is that they gave the dossier more credit than it deserves, not that it was the only basis for investigating Page. He’s been under investigation since 2014, before anyone was campaigning for Trump.

        But anyway, that’s not what I asked. Comey’s been fired. Are you saying the charges here are against him? That’s not at all the impression I was getting from Dr. Haymond.

      4. “Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.”

        That’s directly from the memo, so yes it does say that. It is my fault for saying ‘only’ but my point was without it there would not have been an application according to McCabe.

        Papadopolous was barely mentioned in the memo and only at the end then because a Hillary, anti-Trump crony was the investigator. The memo never mentions ANYTHING Papadopolous said.

        Comey is one of the people involved. The memo names the others so I don’t need to list them.

      5. Just to clear up, are you mistaking me quoting the memo for me quoting the FISA application? I was quoting the memo.

      6. I don’t think I mistook what you were saying. Okay. Let’s brush up a bit.

        Christopher Steele is not a shill for Hillary or the GOP. He was not contracted by either of them directly, he was paid by Fusion GPS to investigate and return information to them. He may have known who was paying Fusion GPS, but we don’t really know that (last I’d heard) and he’s a former MI6 man, a British citizen who runs a firm that investigates things. He was involved in British intelligence against Russia and is regarded as one of the most knowledgeable sources today on the subject of Russian ties to organized crime. So let’s clear that up first. Wouldn’t want to be libeling anyone. And the memo in no way demonstrates that the dossier is wrong or that Steele is not credible. Nunes implies this by making it sound like Steele dislikes Trump and because Comey said parts of the dossier were unverified and salacious, but neither of these things means the source is inadmissible, especially if parts of it were independently verified.

        Second, I know what the memo says. It doesn’t quote McCabe, though, and other people on the committee have said it’s a misrepresentation. They have transcripts of what McCabe said, and Democrats would like the transcripts released. Remember, the fundamental problem Democrats have with this whole thing is that they think Nunes is being misleading. So unless you just trust Nunes wholeheartedly, this accusation is disputable. This along with the fact that, along partisan lines, the Nunes memo was released while simultaneously suppressing a memo from others in the committee who claim he’s more or less lying, leads me to think that there’s more going on.

        Papadopoulos is only important because he’s an indication that Mueller’s investigation is not, in fact, reliant on the dossier and Page. Nunes claims in the memo that the FBI was investigating because of Papadopoulos, and that they only later sought out Page specifically. The courts have previously said that we presume validity for warrants and such, so it’s up to Nunes or Trump or whoever to demonstrate abuse. I don’t think you’ll find many legal analysts willing to say that’s what happened here.

        And, independent of the FBI and the DOJ and McCabe and Comey, a federal judge reviewed all of the evidence and considered it sufficient to grant a warrant. This isn’t internal thing, where Comey asks Rosenstein for permission to do something and they handshake and it’s all fine. Someone else, someone outside of this supposed conspiracy, thought the case presented was credible.

      7. But all that aside, I’m just interested in knowing who you’d purge from the FBI if you were in the position to do so. Who do you think cannot be trusted? How deep do you think this goes?

        Which is what I’m still hoping I can hear from Haymond, unless that’d be too much speculation from what we know so far.

        Personally I suspect this will end up like Comey’s testimony, where people thought it was significant, but it ended up dying quietly…

      8. Who I’d purge? Well, Comey is already gone. From the FBI the only other one mentioned that I’d seriously look at would be McCabe. Rosenstein is the only one still in DOJ that I would get rid of with the current info and by extension shut down Mueller’s investigation.

        What I don’t get is that you cautioned me with very strong words about assuming corruption about leading Democrats on another article a few days ago, but here you are saying Nunes should not be trusted. Personally I wouldn’t trust a word out of the mouth of Adam Schiff.

        The hypocrisy of it all is that Democrats are crying foul about national security being compromised, yet dove to the defense of Mrs Clinton and her mishandling of classified info.

      9. Which is why I’m worried, like I said, about the public losing interest in a shared reality. I’m not saying Nunes lied. I’m saying that’s what Democrats are saying. Clearly both groups are going out of their way to hurt each other, and it’s naive to assume one side is being totally corrupt and the other completely saintly. Or, I suppose, one side is evil and trying to ruin the country, but while I know that’s a popular view these days I don’t hold it myself. I’m saying there’s an obvious political angle, so we should look at these things critically. Which in Nunes’ memo’s case, means we really have no idea what to make of it because the facts are disputed and the context is being withheld.

        Is Mueller a problem too? Should the investigation into Russian meddling, something both parties are concerned about and which Republicans assembled themselves, not be happening at all in your mind?

        I don’t understand the Hillary bit. Doesn’t that bite both ways? And didn’t we already look into what she did? If she did something illegal she should be punished. Democrats can’t stop that and I’m not defending her. And that’s not what we’re talking about right now, anyway. People are concerned, with good reason, that Russia is interfering in our elections and undermining our institutions. That’s a significant thing. This is not a partisan issue.

      10. “People are concerned, with good reason, that Russia is interfering in our elections and undermining our institutions. That’s a significant thing. This is not a partisan issue.”

        And now people are concerned that people in leadership of these departments have tried to interfere in our election process by playing partisan. Of course Russia has (and will) tried to interfere. The question is if it connects to the President and no evidence has supported that after all this time. The Hillary bit is part of the point. The FBI and DOJ did not properly conduct that investigation due to partisan bias or influence. Then they turn around and go after Trump with guns a blazing. Rosenstein hired Mueller because Sessions recused. Now we have evidence that Rosenstein knew there was not near as much there as previously indicated. Mueller also has many anti Trump investigators on his team. Can we not be concerned with internal meddling just as much as external?

      11. “And now people are concerned that people in leadership of these departments have tried to interfere in our election process by playing partisan.”

        That’s fine. Let’s open an investigation, then, instead of playing partisan with classified information.

        “Of course Russia has (and will) tried to interfere.”

        Glad you admit that, at least. That’s the basis for an investigation, after all.

        “The question is if it connects to the President and no evidence has supported that after all this time.”

        No, that’s not the question, though understandably Trump’s massive ego makes it seem that way. Last I’d heard Trump wasn’t the subject of investigation. Comey made that clear. So stop pretending it’s about Trump when it’s about Russian interference. The investigation is into Russian interference. Shared facts are important.

        “The Hillary bit is part of the point. The FBI and DOJ did not properly conduct that investigation due to partisan bias or influence.”

        Investigation into what? Proof? What do you think should have happened? How do you decide whether an investigation you are not privy to the details of was handled properly?

        “Then they turn around and go after Trump with guns a blazing. Rosenstein hired Mueller because Sessions recused.”

        Again, no, that’s not what happened, that’s not what’s happening, and this is part of the problem with losing interest in facts. Sessions recused himself. Nobody forced his hand, he did it because it was the sensible thing to do. And Mueller was universally declared the best man for the job when he was hired (except some Democrats thought it was corrupt since he has a history with conservatives).

        “Now we have evidence that Rosenstein knew there was not near as much there as previously indicated.”

        Now we have an accusation, a disputed one, that only applies to one person, not the investigation as a whole. If you’re so concerned about Page, then argue about Page, but this does not invalidate the rest of the investigation. That’s part of the problem, this is being spun into some kind of massive conspiracy which the actual text of the memo (are we reading the same thing?) does not support.

        “Mueller also has many anti Trump investigators on his team.”

        I’m so tired of hearing this. Mueller has an impeccable record, conservatives love him. He sacks anyone who demonstrates a problem. And, more importantly, if you had surveyed the average person in early 2017, MOST were anti-Trump. Most people didn’t vote for him. We live in a country where you can support or oppose candidates for public office, and people split. People have this weird idea that you can only be fair if you are a Trump supporter, which is silly. Most Americans are not pro-trump, and would laugh at you if you suggested that only Trump supporters should be allowed to investigate something only tangentially related to him.

        “Can we not be concerned with internal meddling just as much as external?”

        Sure, it’s a free country. What you can’t do is act like this is decided because a bunch of partisans released information without context. No one disputes Russian meddling. Last I checked, both parties want that investigated and handled. These two problems, and the claims behind them, are not really alike.

      12. Part of the problem with the Russia investigation is the narrative we get on CNN and others that claim Trump did collude with Russia (collusion is not a crime anyway). The liberal commentators on these networks have a singular goal to remove Trump from office because they don’t like him and will feed any narrative with a chance to do so. So they complicate things also by portraying their version of things.

        Regarding Hillary, Comey came out with the statement recommending no criminal charges before even completing the investigation. That’s what was puzzling. Regardless of whether she committed criminal action or not it was extremely clear she was unfit for office.

        I didn’t say only Trump supporters should investigate. But clear partisans for the Democrats shouldn’t either unless they can remain objective.

        “Mueller also has many anti Trump investigators on his team.”
        ‘I’m so tired of hearing this. Mueller has an impeccable record, conservatives love him.’

        Conservatives love him? I’m not so sure about that at least as a majority statement. But again I said people on his team not him himself.

      13. Well, that may be. I’m not defending CNN, I’m just concerned about our institutions.

        I don’t think you’re being very even-handed with Hillary, but that’s neither here nor there. Obviously you dislike her, that’s fine.

        Glad you’re okay with people who aren’t Trump supporters investigating. And yes, prominent conservatives heaped praise on the special council, he was a good choice then and remains so now, and I don’t know what partisan people on his team you mean. The only thing I hear is that some people on the team supported other parties or candidates in the past, which we both agree says nothing about their objectivity.

        Which brings us full circle. This memo is only conclusive or convincing if you already wanted to be convinced of something. And it should be reiterated that I’m no Democrat, and I’m not saying they’re right, I’m just concerned about the legitimacy of an important investigation. I’m not willing to trust Nunes by default. I suspect that unless something more substantive is released this will blow over like Comey’s testimony, and everyone will just be more confused and less interested in facts.

      14. Theophilus, instead of expounding I will ask a few questions this time.

        Would this investigation be going if Clinton won and not Trump?
        Did the Clinton campaign help fund and give information for the Steele dossier and is any of the information in the dossier credible enough to pursue an investigation?
        Would there have been a FISA warrant without the dossier?
        Has Carter Page been charged with anything after all this surveillance and why was he a ‘person of interest’?
        If Trump is not a target of the investigation why has Mueller not said so?
        Why are we investigating Russian interference this time when they are likely trying to sway things all the time? Why don’t we have a continuous special counsel for them then?
        Is there any evidence that the election outcome was altered due to Russian interference?

      15. 1. Interesting hypothetical. I would guess so, because the GOP would still control Congress, but who really knows?

        2. People who wanted Hillary to win helped pay Fusion GPS for the dossier. Some of it is credible. But remember our shared facts: The investigation was happening before the dossier. Or are you talking specifically about Page?

        3. If McCabe is being accurately quoted, then no, not for Page. But it’s disputed if that’s an accurate characterization.

        4. I don’t know what the investigation has found. He was a person of interest because people were able to make a convincing case to a federal judge that he was up to something. He went to Russia and met with Russians, and then denied having contact with Russians. Trump’s campaign did the responsible thing and distanced themselves from him when this became evident. Or do you think he didn’t do anything?

        5. Because he doesn’t have to? Other people have already said so?

        6. We are actually keeping an eye on them most of the time. Putin pulled off something special in 2016 though, I think the chaos is evidence enough of that. GOP congressmen are also aware and worried about how this plays into his hands.

        7. I don’t know, how would I know? Why are you asking me questions I cannot possibly know the answer to? Is the only meaningful way they could interfere changing the results of an election? Could stoking a hyper-partisan environment that undermines our institutions regardless of who wins be equally damaging?

        But look: I’m not going to convince you to be worried about Putin. I’m not going to convince you that these things are important, because even though I’m avoiding mentioning our President except when you make me, you’re defensive about this like I’m attacking him. All I’m going to suggest is that while you are rightfully worried about politicization and dishonesty from some people, you’re completely unwilling to consider that this is a problem both sides are contributing to. And this contextless memo is not going to accomplish anything unless we can get something more substantial.

  4. This is certainly a major development. I don’t think we should be too surprised that there is bias involved in all of this. As fallen humans, bias can cloud our conduct, even when we’re supposed to be impartial. Whether this memo is entirely accurate or not, I think that it highlights some sort of a failure in our system.

  5. I too expect more information to be released on both sides, which could create one big, giant mess. I fear that if it does become a big mess, that some stories will be fabricated or exaggerated in an attempt to deliver a knockout to the other party, which will leave us not knowing what to believe as fact or fiction.

  6. I’ve been concerned with the FISA court and FISA warrants for a while now and think its painfully similar to the Court of Star Chamber that was set up in Britain that exploited citizens and abused government power. What do you think is the proper role for the court and how do you think top secret warrants, subpoenas, and the like can be properly arbitrated in a digital age?

    1. It’s especially complicated because secrecy is an inherent part of intelligence operations: if we just disclose how the whole process works we hamstring ourselves by showing our hand.

  7. As a first reaction, I especially agree with #1. I am hesitant, however, to form an opinion at this point, and appreciate the proverb at the end of this post. I’m interested to see what additional arguments and information will be made manifest in the near future, but like others, I am also concerned that this could become more of a political battle than an effort to reveal the truth.

  8. I especially agree with #3, 6, & 7. The level of corruption in government is frightening, and this memo provides further evidence of just that. It will be interesting to see whether or not all of this is true, and how it will play out in regard to damaging Trump.

  9. So regardless of what’s in the memo (and I have read it) or what the truth is, I think it’s very interesting to look at how the commentary has come out.

    Most major media sources and left leaning sites seem to have come down on this being a bunch of hubub over nothing and Trump unnecessarily pitting himself against law enforcement. Trump jr. and some Republicans think this is petty and partisan.

    Right leaning sites think this is major and vindicating of Trump. And Hannity believes this exonerates the Trump campaign and everyone who confessed to wrong doing should be let free and we should arrest Hillary

    So really this pushes the right further to the right and the left and center to the left.

    1. Did Hannity really say that? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Kinda glad I don’t have a radio out here.

      I hate this polarization. It’s very difficult to sit in the middle when both sides are gearing up for a fight. You end up spending every conversation just trying to convince people that the other side is rational, which gets old.

      What’s worse is that nobody wants to agree on some ‘middle ground’ news outlets that we can all agree are more fair than the guys who are clearly on a side.

    2. “And Hannity believes this exonerates the Trump campaign and everyone who confessed to wrong doing should be let free and we should arrest Hillary”

      By ‘everyone’ do you mean primarily Flynn along with others?

      1. Yeah I’m bad with names, Flynn was one, there was someone else who confessed and is assisting Mueller that Hannity says should go free.

  10. Question for the Bereans if interested on reasons why the stock market is taking this sharp dive? Does the change at the Federal Reserve have any impact? Interest rates or other factors?

    1. Hopefully it’s just a bump. I’m seeing reasonable, calm explanations for the most part. Fingers crossed.

  11. This is for Theophilus just starting a new comment so I don’t have to scroll forever to see your previous comment while typing.

    I never said Putin didn’t worry me. Of course he will try to do things that are in Russia’s interest and that includes messing with us in many different ways. Same goes for mister crazy in North Korea, China, etc. The list is long.

    “Putin pulled off something special in 2016 though.” What did he specifically pull off? Most of this problem was caused internally. Regarding Trump I don’t think you are attacking him but the people behind this like the Clinton campaign, the Democrats, and the media are targeting him with all this. Their endgame is to get rid of him. Otherwise they wouldn’t care. Honestly if the media (the hard cores anyway) had clear evidence that Hillary colluded with Putin I figure they’d try to cover it up.

    “He was a person of interest because people were able to make a convincing case to a federal judge that he was up to something.”

    Because they withheld information from the judge when applying for the warrant.

    “It’s especially complicated because secrecy is an inherent part of intelligence operations: if we just disclose how the whole process works we hamstring ourselves by showing our hand.”

    I heard Nunes say today that some information was not included in the memo because the democrats on the committee cited this reason. Then after it was not included they complain that there is not enough information to make the memo credible.

    Really on this whole matter we need to just wait for the information that will continue to come, hope it is truthful and not corrupted, and get all the facts. But right now from my perspective of observation over 18+ months on this plus my experience through life the Republican case seems way more credible. We see things through different lenses and because of that we’d just keep back and forthing forever.

    1. Probably. Maybe one day I’ll learn to also just believe Republicans, and all will be calm. That’s really our disagreement: You’re taking this all at face value, so we aren’t even talking to each other’s points.

      I think the last year has been great for Putin, we’re distancing ourselves from the world and getting tied up on internal squabbles and undermining our intelligence agencies through partisan brinkmanship. I don’t think he could ask for a better situation.

      Agreed, like Haymond said, I’m hoping we’ll get more context. If not this is going to be a waste of time.

    2. It’s not believing Republicans with no personal thought on my part. It’s that what I’ve observed over two years favors their story more than the Dems. It is a difference. I’m not saying Putin doesn’t benefit from this, I’m just skeptical that he has primarily engineered this as opposed to ourselves.

    3. I’m hearing the Democrat memo has passed the House committee and could be released in the near future so we should get that. I won’t be at all surprised if the mainstream media will treat this as gospel compared to the Nunes memo in terms of credibility. We’ll see.

  12. As with many cases, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle on this one. Does it completely discredit the Mueller investigation? No. Is it just a “nothing-burger?” No. At the very least, I think we can rightly conclude that there was some form of improper conduct that was engaged in by either the Justice Department or the FISA Court. If the Justice Department did actually inform the FISA court of the dossier’s origins, the FISA court did a poor job of evaluating it. And, of course, if the Justice Department did not disclose the origins of the dossier, that raises a slew of questions. Either way, though, this memo raises serious questions that deserve answers.

    1. “If the Justice Department did actually inform the FISA court of the dossier’s origins, the FISA court did a poor job of evaluating it.”

      But why though? That’s part of what confuses me. Witnesses frequently are not people with no interest in what’s happening. It’s very rare that negative information falls from the sky onto someone’s desk: People with a bone to pick go to the authorities. Neighbors who have been fighting with each other tell the cops that someone in the neighborhood is selling drugs. It’s part and parcel of the process.

      So I get that we should be careful and double check information that comes from a source with an angle (and I doubt I need to tell the FBI that), but I don’t understand how someone not liking someone else disqualifies them as a source of information because sources always have an angle. What standard are you suggesting we use to judge that some breach of justice happened here? Do you have a precedent in mind?

      1. Two things:

        (1) Do you have me on quick dial? Good grief, you answer quickly…

        (2) Not liking someone isn’t disqualifying, but using junk information is. Director Comey himself described the dossier as salacious and unverified, yet they still used it. That’s a breach of FBI protocol for obtaining FISA court orders, and Comey should have known better. The bottom line is that someone has egg on their face.

      2. Please, if nothing else, understand the optics of this. What we are dealing with is false, opposition research that was paid for by the Democrat party being entered, apparently, as prime motivation for the Justice Department, being run by the Democrats at the time, to obtain sanctioned approval to bring the full weight of government spying power on members of the Republican candidate’s team. That’s scary, regardless of where you put “Democrat” and “Republican.” We need a higher standard than this.

      3. I agree that the optics are terrible. I’ve explained almost a dozen times already why the optics are largely based on a narrative that exists independent of the facts, one that is not necessarily trustworthy. It’s not necessarily wrong, but we have no way of knowing what’s actually going on with so much obscured. I’ve even addressed how what you said about Comey is a misrepresentation of what he said.

        In what way does this violate ‘protocol’? What protocol are you even referring to? People are saying strong things about something almost none of us have any way of understanding.

        If you don’t like surveillance great. I would love to hear people arguing about whether surveillance is a good idea. But no one is asking that we dismantle our process for spying on citizens. That is allowed, and the process that allows it is full of things we are not privy to.

        I’m not going to keep repeating myself. This is theatre, on both sides, and to our detriment as a nation. The optics is a small part of the problem, and if I were Putin I’d be enjoying the show.

    2. So apparently according to Nunes on Fox and friends, it was disclosed in the fisa application that the dossier might have political ties.

      So one of the biggest “bombshells” was a lie.

      1. Even if you are right it doesn’t change that it was not enough to justify a warrant. The dossier itself was lies made up of opposition research and rhetoric.

      2. Well, if he was right it does change things though, since the substance of the accusation is that the source’s potential for bias was concealed from the court.

      3. Okay Daniel doesn’t believe me.

        Daniel, your argument is essentially that it’s okay that this memo lies about at least one of the most important facts because given all of the information, you believe the judges involved made the wrong decision.

        Remember what this is about, this was a warrant not an indictment.

      4. I never said lying was ok. I was saying this supposed ‘lie’ does not minimize the many other things the memo brings to light. This wasn’t a one-issue memo. The corruption is still there plain to see.

      5. If Nunes was the first and only person to say these things sure it might be an argument, but this stuff has been around since the election. Long before I even knew who Nunes was I saw the corruption with these people.

      6. Right, that’s fine, but a ton of people also believe Trump did the gross stuff in the Steele dossier and that it fits with their understanding of him. But we would agree that those people are biased and letting their bias cloud their judgment.

  13. I strongly agree with #1. I do not believe that this information would damage national security. There is no doubt that more things will be leaked and more information on both sides will come out. I believe that sometimes people get so caught up in proving others wrong and they forget about what the actual issue is. If only democrats and republicans could work together to solve issues.

  14. I don’t see how more information is not released. You made the statement that this could be very damaging for the Republican party and for President Trump, how much damage? Could information be released that would cause an impeachment against Trump?

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