Op-ed: The memo and the truth

  • By Cal Thomas
  • Wednesday, February 7, 2018 9:38am
  • Opinion

Partisans tend to read, watch and listen only, or mostly, to information and opinions that reinforce their beliefs. If information surfaces that counters those beliefs, it is usually disparaged, excused or ignored. That’s human nature.

Such is the case with the “memo” released last Friday by the Republican majority on the House Intelligence Committee. The four-page document alleges, in the words of a Wall Street Journal editorial: “the FBI and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court appear to have been used to influence the 2016 election and its aftermath.”

If true, that is real collusion.

Conservative partisans are rejoicing and having an “I told you so” moment. Partisans on the left are reading coverage and editorials in The New York Times and the Washington Post and drawing sustenance for their position that the memo is a “nothingburger” and does not undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s “collusion” with Russia to influence the election. That not a shred of credible evidence has been produced on this point does not deter them.

Critics of the memo, who tried to stop its release, initially contended it undermines and smears the FBI and the Department of Justice. No it doesn’t. It suggests that a few higher-ups in those agencies used their power and influence in an attempt to keep Donald Trump from becoming president and after he was elected to undermine his presidency. Now that the memo has been made public, partisans on the left, who once claimed its release would seriously damage the FBI and the DOJ, now say there is nothing there. It can’t be both a danger and nothing, so which is it? In Washington, having it both ways is a cherished tradition.

Politicizing a powerful federal agency is nothing new. Think Lois Lerner and her efforts while at the IRS to thwart tax exemptions for conservative and religious organizations, as well as a few progressives. Or recall how Richard Nixon and his attorney general, John Mitchell, politicized the IRS and Justice Department in an attempt to punish their political enemies.

The most damning part of the memo is the assertion that the FBI and Justice Department used a “dossier” authored by ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and funded in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee in an attempt to smear Donald Trump. It was this dossier that the government agencies used to convince a FISA judge to issue a warrant allowing Trump campaign official Carter Page and possibly others to be spied on. The memo asserts those seeking the warrant did not tell the judge about the fingerprints of the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign on the dossier. That is worse than oversight. If true, it is criminal and possibly prosecutable behavior.

In an interview with Bret Baier on Fox News Friday, Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes suggested there is more to come, including release of a memo from the Democratic minority and possibly the full transcript of testimony by Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe before a closed meeting of the Intelligence Committee. McCabe signed one of the FISA applications and then-FBI Director James Comey signed three. Nunes contends the subsequent warrants issued by the FISA judge were based on flawed and incomplete information and thus would likely not have been issued had the judge been in possession of additional facts.

The Republican memo is not the end but rather the beginning to exposing behind-the-scenes maneuvering by liberals to keep Donald Trump out of the White House and put Hillary Clinton in it. The public has a right to know all the facts in this case, wherever they lead.

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

More in Opinion

The official ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Division of Elections)
Voices of the Peninsula: Check out the ballot before you vote

This kind of ballot is not something you have seen before.

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Why I’m voting for Walker

Walker is the only candidate with the potential to govern effectively for all Alaskans.

Nick Begich III campaign materials sit on tables ahead of a May 16 GOP debate held in Juneau. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Nick Begich is who Alaska and America need now

It is in Alaska’s best interest to elect a member of the Republican party

State Sen. Josh Revak (Photo provided)
The time has come to end Big Tech’s rule

The hope is that the bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S. 2992) will come to the Senate floor for a vote

Michael Heimbuch attends a memorial service for the late Drew Scalzi on Aug. 5, 2005, at the Seafarers Memorial on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Point of View: King salmon: The clash of culture and science

People do some pretty awful things to king salmon stocks

Lieutenant governor candidate Edie Grunwald speaks at a Charlie Pierce campaign event at Paradisos restaurant in Kenai on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Election Integrity: An Alaskan question with an Alaskan answer

A needless round of feel-good meetings and what-if conversations will be a thing of the past

This photo shows the University of Alaska Southeast campus in Juneau. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: I’m a longtime educator, and I’m supporting Walker/Drygas

The issues our state faces are significant with regard to education.

Larry Persily (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Congress could keep health insurance costs from rising, but it has to act fast

The cost of health insurance will rise substantially next year for about 13 million Americans

The offical ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Divison of Elections)
Opinion: Alaskans deserve an election system that represents our differences

The new system’s goal is to make this election cycle transparent, secure and easy for all Alaskans to vote

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell (Courtesy)
Opinion: UAA’s career certificates are helping to fill Alaska’s workforce pipeline

At UAA, we are announcing a new suite of certificate programs responding to some of the state’s most critical needs

Opinion: Remaining vigilant after 30 years

Exxon Valdez spurred both federal and state legislatures, the industry, and the public to come together