Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.
Listen, as with every other octopus arm of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, I would have preferred to ignore this “memo” everyone’s been talking about for as long as possible.
But it appears we’ve finally reached the day where this is no longer possible. Axios reported that President Trump could decide to release this mysterious memo as early as today. Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, also seemed to foreshadow the memo’s release when he tweeted last night that committee chair Devin Nunes, of California, made “material changes” to the four-page document which were not approved by the full committee.
A spokesman for the Intelligence Committee’s Republicans insisted to The Washington Post that the changes were “minor” cosmetic and grammar edits, along with two changes required by the FBI. The GOP-controlled committee voted along party lines on Monday to release the memo and also voted down a proposal to allow the committee’s Democrats to release a rebuttal.
Republicans and far-right-wingers of the internet alike clamoring to #ReleaseTheMemo have worked themselves into a lather over the secret document, which Republicans have said relates to the Justice Department and the FBI abusing surveillance powers—including the charge that the previous administration duped a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court into allowing spying on Carter Page, a former associate of Trump’s campaign.
These same groups, who have a vested interest in framing the Mueller probe as a partisan attack on the people’s president, have also charged that the entire alleged surveillance effort stems from the still-unverified Steele dossier, which detailed such infamous claims as the existence of the pee tape and was partially underwritten by Democrats.
It’s part of a broader obsession with supposed FBI malfeasance. That obsession goes all the way to the top, which is why the president has spent no small amount of time taking a recent interest in internet conservatives’ favorite cause célèbre: the texts between two FBI officials who were once a part of Mueller’s team until it was revealed that they exchanged anti-Trump messages. (Remember the whole disingenuous dust-up over an FBI “secret society”? That was a clear joke contained in these messages.)
Despite the FBI declaring its “grave concerns” about the memo’s release in a rare unsigned statement on Wednesday, if the memo does in fact cast the Russia probe as a partisan witch hunt, it’s likely that Trump will release it as soon as possible. The groups that wanted its release will treat it like a smoking gun and Democrats will lose their minds, probably en route to claiming Nunes is a Kremlin agent.
And then I never want to hear about it again, please.
- We’re one week from another government shutdown! Want to feel old? A baby born during the last shutdown wouldn’t even be able to crawl yet!
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