Opinion: The True Significance Of The Memo


Devin Nunes

This past week, the state of our political contention boiled to a tipping point. The prospects of a vindicated President Trump, the possibility of a corrupt FBI, and the likely over-estimated malice with which Trump was supposedly treated regarding Russia, has left the country up in arms about the memo. Democrats and members of the FBI have been adamant about not releasing the memo, warning that its release would have been a threat to National Security. However, while supposedly being a security threat, the partisan opposition also seemed to argue that the memo would ultimately be negligible in determining foul play. In other words, a “nothing burger”. The vehement contention and desperation with which Trump’s opposition in the Democratic Party and the FBI seemed to object to the release of the Nunes Memo, hinted to many that are sympathetic to Trump that the memo likely contained incriminating information regarding the FBI. In fact, right-wing media circles often repeated the idea that this scandal on behalf of the Clinton campaign, the Fusion GPS dossier, and possible corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, make the Watergate scandal pale in comparison. And now upon its release, President Trump claims that he is vindicated. Conservatives, commentators, and the President must react to all available information with the same prudence and honesty to the facts they expected from the Democrats and the media during the height of the “collusion” suspicion.

Sean Hannity from Fox News, when unveiling the memo according to his own interpretation, is actually one of the most egregious examples of right-wing willingness to use anything to attach criminality to the FBI and the Mueller investigation. Hannity compared the foundation of the Mueller probe to a "house of cards", that is now crashing down before us. However, he actually is not the only major commentator that exaggerates the extent to which foul play was a determinant of the Russia investigation. Radio giant Rush Limbaugh, despite knowing fully well that the incriminating contents of the memo were likely inflated by conservative media, said that he thought the content of the memo was "more damning" than he had expected. Lastly, Dan Bongino on The Mark Levin Show went as far as to say that the memo unraveled the "biggest" scandal in United States history. The problem with Trump and conservative media rushing toward the worst case scenario of criminality on behalf of the FBI is the lack of intellectual wiggle room that is left if new information should be produced. Conservatives would look just as hysterical as the mainstream media if the Nunes Memo ended up lacking credibility compared to upcoming counter-research. Top Democrat in the Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, slammed the memo claiming that it "cherry picks" information, and offered a dispute of a major tenant of the Nunes memo. He continued with the firm assertion that the Mueller probe did not originate from the dossier and that the given accounts of Deputy Director McCabe's motives in the "genesis" of the probe were all but complete. Even Representative Trey Gowdy, a popular Republican politician from South Carolina, said that the memo will not have “any impact” on the Mueller investigation. It’s quite difficult to move forward on the conservative side of the argument when Sean Hannity is telling his 4 million viewers that there now is conclusive proof that the “entire basis” for the Russia investigation were “lies” that were bought by Hillary Clinton.

My criticism of the President or major right-wing commentators does not mean that I believe that this memo is not credible, nor that I doubt the innocence of the Trump Campaign. I merely hold the vital contention that those of us who support President Trump must be willing to accept and objectively assess new information that will surely come up. From everything being brought up now, the facts mostly err on the side of the administration, and the probability of some corruption in the FBI. But the debate is not over, and the facts are not complete. Let us observe political prudence, so that we may not be guilty of creating unwarranted hysteria that will not be useful in future political discussions.

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