politics
The Nunes Memo
Feb 5, 2018 at 05:03 AM

Food For Thought

How significant are the contents of the Nunes memo? To what extent is the memo damaging to the FBI or the Republican and Democratic parties?

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Why It's Relevant

On Friday, House Republicans released a highly publicized memo, written by staff of Republican Devin Nunes and formally titled Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The memo contains allegations of misconduct levied against the FBI, specifically questioning the FBI means of obtaining a FISA warrant during its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections.

President Trump tweeted the memo “totally vindicates” him, while House Democrats have renounced the memo with claims of factual inaccuracy.

Food For Thought

How significant are the contents of the Nunes memo? To what extent is the memo damaging to the FBI or the Republican and Democratic parties?

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The Washington Post

Republicans futilely try to contain the Nunes memo

James Downie
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Our Article Commentary

This opinion from The Washington Post was chosen as a view from the left because of the following types of opinions expressed:

  • While congressional Republicans are downplaying the significance of the memo, insisting it is not connected to the Russia investigation, this is just a deliberate tactic to conceal that they are actively attempting to sabotage the FBI and their investigation into Russian election interference.
  • Trump himself has said the memo proves his claims of a "witch hunt" against him, which guarantees his supporters will believe it to be just that.
  • Despite the language of House Republicans, the memo is significant because it represents an intentional attempt by a party to undermine the efforts of the FBI.
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Vox

The Nunes memo is a dud

Zack Beauchamp
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Our Article Commentary

We selected this commentary from Vox as a view from the mid-left because it expressed these types of opinions:

  • The memo is nothing more than an empty partition tool; its chief claim regarding the FISA warrant is unsupported by the memo itself.
  • The memo merely contains assertions of improper conduct without any evidence to prove its claims, and without access to the actual FISA warrant, there is no way to prove any of the accusations made.
  • The conclusion of the memo undermines its own purpose, which was to damage the FBI Russia investigation. Republicans using it as a basis to draw any broader conclusions are misguided.
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National Review

Nunes Memo: National-Security High Alert! Not.

Our Article Commentary

This opinion written by John Fund was chosen as a view from the mid-right based on the following types of opinions expressed:

  • The release of the memo made it clear that Democrats who were insisting it contained sensitive national security information were misleading the public.
  • The attempts to prevent the memo’s release illustrate an underlying problem: bureaucrats avoiding responsibility for their own scandals and mistakes by hiding them under the guise of national security.
  • The release of the Nunes memo is a significant moment, and should remind citizens of the US to be wary of efforts to conceal classified documents; while it is certainly true that measures should be taken to preserve national security secrets, national security cannot be used as a means for government officials to avoid consequences for mistakes.
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The Hill

Outcry over the Nunes memo is damning for Democrats and FBI

Jonathan Turley
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Our Article Commentary

This commentary from Jonathan Turley was classified as a view from the right based on the following types of expressed arguments:

  • The memo confirms there were improper actions taken by the FBI in obtaining the FISA warrant, and more problematically, the release of the memo shows the discontinuity between the contents of the document and the “grave consequences” suggested by Democrats in the House as well as members of the FBI.
  • There are two narratives surrounding the memo: one centered on political abuse of power in the FBI and the other centered on abuse of power from the White House; the former should not be less of a concern to the pubic than the latter.
  • The FBI has a long history of similar improper conduct, and it is in the public interest that steps are taken to investigate the opposition to the release of the memo. The FBI and Democrats must be held responsible for their attempt to conceal their conduct from the public. 
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