This past weekend, the public got a rare look at previously secret documents: the FBI’s application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to wiretap Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign. Among other things, the revelation made House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) look quite a bit worse.Indeed, a Washington Post analysis noted that the latest information made the so-called “Nunes memo” appear “even less credible.” Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum was less subtle: “Now we know for sure: Devin Nunes lied about everything.”
But it’s one thing for news outlets to make the California Republican look bad. It’s something else when his Republican counterpart in the Senate also contradicts Nunes’ dubious claims.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr told CNN Tuesday he believed there were “sound reasons” for judges to approve the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, in yet another break between the Republican leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees.
“I don’t think I ever expressed that I thought the FISA application came up short,” Burr said when asked about House Republican memo alleging FBI and Justice Department abuses of the FISA process. “There (were) sound reasons as to why judges issued the FISA.”
All of which seemed like a rather polite way for the GOP senator to explain that Nunes’ assessments weren’t true.
Making matters worse is just how often incidents like these had popped up lately.
The release of the FISA application made Nunes look bad. Vladimir Putin’s admission last week that he wanted Donald Trump to win also made Nunes look bad, since it was at odds with the House Intelligence Committee’s Republican report.
CNN’s report added yesterday, “While Nunes’ committee disputed the ‘tradecraft’ behind the US intelligence community’s January 2017 assessment that found Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to help Donald Trump win, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a report earlier this month that agreed with the intelligence community’s conclusions and took no issue with its tradecraft.”
I don’t imagine Nunes will care – he’s demonstrated an alarming capacity for shamelessness – but given what’s become of his credibility, he probably should.