A Breakdown of the Nunes Memo and What it Taught Us

Since the Nunes Memo has been released, the Republicans have been holding it up in every House and Senate discussion, on every Sunday morning news show as definitive proof that the probe into President Trump’s ties to Russia is nothing more than a smear tactic or as the President himself has called it, “a witch hunt” by the Democrats and their bitterness over the fact that Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. As far as I can tell, the memo doesn’t prove that Trump or any of his aides had any communication with Russian officials or Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, nor does it prove that Trump didn’t have Russia’s assistance.  However; the memo does tell us a few things.

  1. Campaigns and political parties hire people to dig up dirt. This may not be new information to anyone nor would it be any surprise if it is. According to the memo, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton Campaign, along with  Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS paid Christopher Steele, a longtime FBI informant over $160,000 to compile a derogatory dossier on Donald Trump during the campaign.
  2. The FBI is fair when informants break the rules and this is evident when Steele was fired as an informant when he disclosed to the media his relationship with the FBI in a Mother Jones article by David Corn, as the memo states. Nunes argued that this firing was biased as Steele should have been fired earlier for disclosing information to Yahoo news and other outlets in September and for concealing his speaking with the media from the FBI. Nunes argues in the memo that is it for this reason that Steele was an unreliable source as he broke the unbreakable rule of “maintaining confidentiality”.
  3. Those who work in the DOJ have opinions too as is evident according to the memo as then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, a senior DOJ official who worked closely with Deputy Attorneys General Yates and later Rosenstein was Steele’s connection to the DOJ after his termination. Nunes claims that shortly after the election, Ohr began to document his communications with Steele and admitted in September 2016, he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not, being president.” At the same time, Ohr’s wife was paid by Fusion GPS to assist in the opposition to Trump and Nunes states that this fact was concealed from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court  (FISC).
  4. The FBI didn’t try to hide anything from Trump as before he even took office then- FBI Director James Comey briefed the President-elect on the Steele-dossier and even testified in June 2017 that the dossier was “salacious and unverified.” To this point, Nunes argues that the FISA either ignored or concealed Steele’s anti-Trump “financial and ideological motivations”.
  5. FBI agents have preferences in who they would like to be President as shown in the text messages between FBI agent Pete Strzok and his mistress, FBI Attorney Lisa Page as they showed that they were both opposed to Trump and that they favored Hillary Clinton however: Strozk also investigated Clinton. He may have had a preference but he did investigate the candidate that he favored—what got him in hot water was that he and Page had extensive discussions about the investigation,  plans to leak to the media and to have a ” meeting with Deputy Director McCabe to discuss an ‘insurance’ policy against President Trump’s election”.

The only thing that seems to be wrong is how the investigation initially started out, and that was the fact that according to the memo “On October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received an ISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC”. The memo claims that at first the application was certified by the Director or Deputy Director of the FBI and was followed up with approval by “the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General (DAG), or the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division”. Nunes argues that the three renewals of the surveillance which are to occur every 90 days and requires new findings for probable cause did not take place and that then-Director Comey signed off on three, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one and Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein also signed one all on behalf of the FBI. The memo states that this violates ISA rules for surveillance on American citizens which Carter Page is. He was also an unpaid aide to Trump during the campaign. I don’t think that this shows bias towards Trump from the DOJ or FBI. What it does show is that everyone has an opinion and that procedure was not followed, not due to opposition to Trump but the FBI not following protocol.

Again, the memo does not prove that Trump is guilty of working with Russia to win the election, nor does it show that he’s innocent. What it does show is negligence on behalf of the FBI and that the Republicans will use any little detail that comes to the surface to defend Trump and that the blame game from both sides is only beginning in Washington. The only thing that will tell us whether or not Trump worked with the Russians to steal the election is the results of the ongoing investigation by Robert Mueller.

You can read all 4 pages of the memo here: https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/02/politics/fbi-nunes-memo-full/index.html

Image Source retreived from nbcnews.com

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The “Bernie or Bust” Crowd is endangering America

Ever since the beginning of this presidential campaign, there are those Democratic voters who have come to be labeled as the “Bernie or Bust” crowd. These are people who have made it clear that they are not going to vote at all, or are going to vote third party if Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is not the Democratic Presidential nominee. Now that the math clearly indicates that the Democratic Party’s nominee will be Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the “Bernie or Bust” people are all fired up and talking their rhetoric. This crowd is not only dangerous in my view, for they are possibly handing a White House victory to Donald Trump, but they are putting the future of this country in jeopardy. My intention here is not to tell you that are wrong in your views if you are part of this crowd, I voted for Senator Sanders in the primary and still have the bumper sticker. I wish he was going to be the nominee, but because we can’t always get what we want, we have to take the best we have.

The reason Clinton is the best we have is well, I think it’s obvious. On the Republican side we have candidate Donald Trump, who has all throughout his successful campaign has demonized women, talked down about people of color, especially people who are of Latino decent, has not only preached bigotry about Muslim Americans but has said that he would ban people of the Muslim faith from coming to America. He has encouraged violence against those who disagree with him at rallies and proposed building a wall along the border with Mexico which to me, brings back memories of an authoritarian Europe under Soviet rule, remember East and West Berlin? Among all of this, Trump wants to round up anyone who seems to be of Latino decent regardless of status and force them out of the country. This is not America. We have come too far in the fight for equality which is far from over to turn back the clock to the days when we discriminated against people based on their religion or on the color of their skin.

On the other side we have former First Lady, Former Senator, and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Let me be clear, I’m no fan of the Clintons, I don’t think that Bill  was all that great of a president as his policies contributed to poverty due to welfare reforms and the exportation of jobs overseas with programs such as NAFTA, all of which Mrs. Clinton supported. It was never was and is not a mystery that the Clintons have ties to the millionaire and billionaire class and to Wall St. and many tax evading corporations, but not once has Secretary Clinton said that she is going to kick anybody out of the country, not once has she endorsed violence against those who disagree with her, or suggested turning back the clock. If we are going to make progress and move forward, we must do so with a president who believes in moving forward and not going backward. Yes, as a senator Hillary Clinton did vote for the Iraq War, which was not only based on lies and was without a doubt the most illegal war since Vietnam, but nearly everybody in Congress voted for that war, they believed the convincing lies of the Bush Administration. And if you’re going to say to me, “Wait a minute, what about Benghazi?” My response to you is this; first off, the email thing is a joke, Rumsfeld used a personal server as the Bush Administration’s Secretary of Defense, and second, one person cannot micromanage the world. Benghazi could have happened no matter what actions the U.S took, this is only an issue because the Republicans have made it one, you would think that after all of the investigations and the hearing in which Secretary Clinton sat through for seven hours would have proven that there was something if there was, but there is nothing and that is why the whole matter is nothing but hot air. All of the emails have now been made public and not in a single one according to the FBI, has jeopardized national security.

Clinton is not going to bring us universal healthcare, she is not going to bring us free college education, but she will bring us a Supreme Court that will be in favor of equality and justice. The Supreme Court is the KEY ISSUE in this election. Donald Trump will no doubt appoint a racist, pro corporation, pro Citizens United justice to the court, while Clinton will appoint just the opposite. The cases that will be coming forth to the Supreme Court are going to determine whether we as a nation are accepting of all people and whether or not we are a country that is dedicated to justice for all as we claim to be, or if we are a country that preaches such but practices the opposite. The Supreme court will determine whether we continue to advance equal rights to people of the LGBT community, whether or not we continue to allow corporations and the wealthiest top 1% in this country to buy elections, and whether or not we force people from their homes based on the color of their skin or on their nationality. This is the single most important issue in this election. And remember, the Republicans are not going to allow any Obama appointee to have even a hearing, so the next president will be appointing two justices for Justice Ginsberg will be retiring soon.

If you refuse to make it to the polls on election day, or you vote for a third party candidate who has no chance in this system and such a vote, is a vote for Trump, then you are putting this country in danger by handing the Supreme Court over to the radical right who will slowly hand this country over to the white supremacists and the corporations. The “Bernie or Bust” crowd is dangerous in this regard. You can’t always get what you want, and yes I wanted Bernie, but I also want an America where everyone is equal and not discriminated against and where the people, not the corporations have a say in who is elected and in policy. We’re not going to get that with Trump and the Republicans, it’s not going to be perfect under Clinton, but at the least we have a chance to continue the move forward, and one step forward is always better than ten steps backwards. I have many issues with Hillary Clinton, but I’m not willing to hand over my country in which my heritage goes as far back as the Mayflower to a fascist who can very well undo decades of progress in only four years. If Trump becomes president, you can blame yourself for not turning out to vote or by voting for the doomed to fail third party, and if that is you, then those of us who voted for the little change and progress we could get, don’t want to hear you crying about how bad things are and how the radical right and rich have full control. You would have brought this on yourselves, and we will not thank you. Be a patriot, do your civil duty as a citizen, hold your nose if you have to and vote for the candidate who will not take us back to the dark ages and like it or not, that candidate is Hillary Clinton.