Speed Reads

High Nunes

Devin Nunes concedes the FBI noted the Trump dossier's partisan origins, undercutting his memo's central claim

One of the central claims in the now-declassified memo compiled for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is that the FBI, in its FISA warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, improperly failed to "disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding [Christopher] Steele's efforts" to uncover Russian ties to President Trump. On Monday, Nunes acknowledged that the FBI did disclose that there was partisan material in the FISA application, in a footnote.

"A footnote saying something may be political is a far cry from letting the American people know that the Democrats and the Hillary campaign paid for dirt that the FBI then used to get a warrant on an American citizen to spy on another campaign," Nunes said in a Fox & Friends interview.

FISA warrants are highly classified, so it's not clear how the FBI footnote deprived the American people of this knowledge, but Nunes conceding that such a footnote exists further undermines his memo. "Notice how 'The FBI LIED about the Steele dossier' has been scaled back to, 'The FBI did not highlight the truth about the Steele Dossier in the part of the application we bothered to read,'" says New York's Jonathan Chait. "So now the main attack on the FBI is about font size."

The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously on Monday evening to release the committee Democrats' classified rebuttal to the Nunes memo, and if Trump doesn't block its release, we may get a broader picture of the Page FISA warrant by the end of the week.