Swallowing the prey slowly

Terrifying.

Republicans may be on the verge of publicly releasing a secret memo compiled by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), one of President Trump’s most devoted bodyguards against accountability on Capitol Hill, that purports to show serious misconduct by the FBI and Justice Department toward the Trump campaign. The memo is the latest effort to build an alt-narrative that casts the FBI’s Russia probe — which became special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe — as a Deep State Coup to remove Trump from power.

Trump’s goons have been demanding its release.

Adam Schiff says the memo is bullshit.

“It’s highly distorted spin by Nunes,” Schiff told me. “The Nunes spin memo distorts the underlying materials and has presented Members with a very misleading impression of what those materials show.”

Schiff also made a striking claim: He said that in allowing the memo to be accessed in a classified setting by House Republicans, Nunes has violated an agreement with the FBI and the Justice Department. Schiff added that its public release would also violate that agreement. The GOP leaders on the intel committee have allowed members of Congress to access the document, but Democrats charge this is merely an effort to arm them with misleading talking points to attack the FBI on Trump’s behalf.

This is a slow-motion coup. The Republicans are kneecapping all the institutions that would get in the way of their attempt to establish a one party state.

The memo created by Nunes purports to document classified information that shows serious misconduct by top FBI and Justice Department officials in getting authority from a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to conduct secret surveillance on Trump campaign officials, in particular former foreign policy adviser Carter Page. Three people who have seen the memo told Politico that it also raises questions about the role of the so-called “Steele Dossier” in prompting that surveillance.

Thus, the Nunes memo appears to be the latest effort to delegitimize the Russia probe by painting it as born of partisan dirty tricks and an illegitimate abuse of power.

And at the same time there’s the war on McCabe and Wray.

Meanwhile, the political meddling with the FBI appears to be continuing on another front: Axios reports that FBI Director Christopher A. Wray has threatened to resign over pressure on him from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire a top FBI official whose removal Trump has been demanding, allegedly because he’s a Clinton ally.

I wish I were confident they will fail.

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