While President Trump is still expected to approve the four-page Russia investigation memo written by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee under Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), there are reports some White House staff fear the whole thing could be a dud.
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“Inside the Trump administration,” reports Axios, “sources who’ve been briefed on the Nunes memo expect it will be underwhelming and not the ‘slam dunk’ document it’s been hyped up to be.”
The hope in the White House was that the memo would be so explosive that it would force the shut down of Congressional investigations into the Russians and Trump and derail the probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but as more people see the contents and controversies develop surrounding its release, those hopes have cooled.
“What we’re hearing,” reports Axios, is that “There is much more skepticism inside the administration than has been previously reported about the value of releasing the memo, according to sources familiar with the administration discussions.”
Instead of being taken as an important insight, the memo has been tarnished by the sheer political nature of its creation and plans for release. Nunes first didn’t want to show it to anyone outside House Intel Republicans and refused to meet with the FBI about it.
Yesterday the FBI put out an unusual statement saying it opposed the release of the memo which contains highly classified information because there are parts that may be incorrect or give the wrong impression.
Trump’s own Department of Justice has also asked Trump not to approve it because of questions about the content and what kind of precedent it sets to release classified information.
Yesterday, we were told the White House would clear release of the Nunes Memo today. Now, NBC is reporting the White House's statement clearing the House to release the memo will be part of a Friday news dump.
That tells you exactly how confident Trump is this memo isn't a dud.
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) February 1, 2018
Democrats have decried the memo as Nunes’ effort to help Trump by cherry-picking information out of a mountain of data to try and disrupt confidence in the origins of the investigations.
Democrats on the House Intel Committee, led by ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), wrote their own memo and demanded that it be released simultaneously.
Instead, on Monday, Nunes led a vote of the committee along strict party lines that approved the release of his Republican-written memo and denied permission for the Democratic-written memo to be released to others in Congress or to the public.
The sheer partisan arrogance that Nunes has shown is putting many people off.
Trump, The Washington Post reported, hoped the memo would give him grounds to fire some people at the Justice Department whom he considers “disloyal,” as if that is a proper qualification to judge those in law enforcement.
Trump, in particular, is said to want to fire Deputy Director Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller. If Trump can appoint a new person in that post, it might lead the way to fire Mueller as he gets closer to charges against Trump and those around him in the White House now or in the recent past.
As the Nunes memo becomes less important and its veracity is widely questioned, it makes it difficult for Trump to use it for his selfish purposes.