Nefarious or ‘Nothing Burger’? Our Oligarchy on the Nunes Memo

If you aren’t yet persuaded of the existence of a ruling class oligarchy in the United States today, the reactions to the release of the Nunes memo should prompt second thoughts.

The four-page memo made public last week by the House Intelligence Committee details abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department in obtaining a federal intelligence surveillance court’s permission to monitor Carter Page, a U.S. citizen who volunteered briefly with the Trump campaign.

As we now know, the “salacious and unverified” dossier (this is former FBI Director James Comey’s characterization from his June 2017 committee testimony, which the FISA memo cites) compiled by Christopher Steele for the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign “formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application.”

The memo further notes:

Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s effort, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.

How did our oligarchs react to such shocking news—news that would have sparked outrage and likely led to impeachment proceedings and prosecutions had the same story broke during the Bush Administration?

Eh… no big deal. With remarkable unanimity, the official channels of approved opinion dismissed the memo as a “nothing burger.” This is the same memo, remember, that Democrats and their mouthpieces in the kept media claimed just days before posed a dire threat to U.S. national security. Its very release to an ignorant public threatened the legitimacy of trusted institutions and could spur Trump to declare himself Lord Protector of the United States. Or something.

Steve Schmidt, the man who oversaw John McCain’s defeat to Barack Obama in 2008, likened the memo to “Al Capone’s safe and Geraldo—it’s a big nothing.”

NeverTrumper Bret Stephens—who has previously written half-joking columns about deporting American citizens and has argued for repealing the Second Amendment—called the memo a “nothing burger” where the “bun is missing, too.”

Stephens waves away the potential massive Fourth Amendment abuses by saying that Comey’s description of the dossier as “unverified” doesn’t make it “untrue.” (Ah, the old “fake but accurate” routine!) But why give it the benefit of the doubt? The only true thing we know for certain about the Steele dossier is that it was funded by the Clinton campaign and collected by a foreign agent who was also an FBI informant until he was caught leaking to the press.

Taking the silly “nothing burger” idiom to silly new heights, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “It’s worse than a nothing burger; it’s like having nothing mustard.” Lieu, who thinks the Framers of the Constitution wrote and adopted the 25th Amendment (it was proposed in 1965 and ratified in 1967), said that the memo is “misleading” and full of “factual inaccuracies,” though he has not read a single word of the memo’s supporting intelligence reports.

MSNBC commentator and failed TV host Donny Deutsch didn’t get his approved talking points in time, however, and he reported breathlessly,  “Our democracy is under siege.” He then called Trump a “dictator” and issued a call to arms: “We need a revolution here.”

Establishment mouthpieces in the media keep talking about how Trump threatens the integrity of our sacred democratic institutions. But those institutions were in peril long before Trump arrived on the scene. And the truth is, the only people talking seriously about “revolution” these days are in #TheResistance. Don’t forget, too: The House Intelligence Committee memo became public through constitutional and democratic means, rather than through the ruling class’s preferred method of unlawful leaks and innuendo. Who’s the real threat to our democratic institutions here?

Former FBI Director Comey, a man who has shown levels of pomposity and arrogance above and beyond those of mere mortal men, called the FISA abuse memo “dishonest and misleading.” Says the man who signed off on multiple warrants to continue surveillance of Page based on documents whose veracity Comey himself has called into question.

David French of National Review jumped on the fact that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) didn’t personally read the memo’s underlying intelligence reports. Scratching desperately for something resembling wit, French wrote:

But what French leaves out of his Adam Schiff-approved talking point is that the House Intelligence Committee had an agreement with the Justice Department to let only one committee member review the supporting materials. And that man was none other than former federal prosecutor Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). Nunes told Fox News’ Bret Baier that he chose Gowdy for his background and experience as a former federal prosecutor.

Gowdy, Nunes, and committee staff collectively wrote the memo and shared its contents with the entire House Intelligence Committee and, later, all House members. FBI Director Christopher Wray also reviewed the memo before its release. Two other senior FBI officials who vetted the memo said they “could not point to any factual inaccuracies.”

The unanimity of opinion from the oligogues on both the Left and the “conservative” Right demonstrates the strength of the gravitational pull of our contemporary groupthink. When ruling class interests capture the American mind, the bulk of Americans lose. Listen to cable news or read the opinion pages of major newspapers. There you will find Americans’ mores and character under incessant attack. Common sense is nothing. Expertise is everything.

Never mind the conventional wisdom of the commentariat. Congress has a duty to oversee the executive branch—that’s part of the “checks and balances” the Constitution’s framers envisioned. The FISA abuse memo provides the basis for a long and intensive investigation of top officials (current and former) at the FBI and the Department of Justice. How have political considerations altered their judgment and work? Americans have a right to know.

What’s more, Congress would also do well to examine the workings of the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court in light of the Fourth Amendment, which safeguards American citizens in their “persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Between 1979 and 2015, the court has approved practically every FISA warrant application the government has submitted. That was 1,457 applications in 2015 alone.

As Winston Churchill once said, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Let it be so with the memo. The movement to take back our government from the oligarchs and put sovereignty back into the hands of the people with steadfast fight and perseverance is at the end of its beginning.

About Mike Sabo

Mike Sabo is a writer living in Cincinnati, Ohio and a graduate of the Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College.

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22 responses to “Nefarious or ‘Nothing Burger’? Our Oligarchy on the Nunes Memo”

  1. “…what French leaves out of his Adam Schiff-approved talking point…”

    Priceless. The geldings at NRO need to be brought to task. Well done, Mr. Sabo.

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  2. Congressional Democrats,The Media And The FBI/DOJ Scandal.

    The counsel for the defense (read: Congressional Democrats) now claim that attempting to charge the driver of the get away car, or the gun man covering the door (read: Rosenstien) would be to go too far? The media duly reports this as, if it might have some legitimacy, or credence while the rest of us ask, “…Going too far…” well, according to who exactly? Excuse us for asking, but according to what standard is the dismissal of any employee for cause, much less the Deputy Director of the FBI for the commission of a felony, or a string of felonies (more likely,) going too far? Huh?

    Have we as a nation then, gone completely crazy, stark raving mad? Are we all having a collective episode, or suffering from some mass hallucinatory phenomena? Or could it possibly be that this is just one more instance of a manipulative, cognitive dissonance being applied by the media to obscure the truth and shape the news? What we really have is the criminal intent of a failed establishment, a privileged, corporate segment of the social order, a ruling elite caught red handed while attempting to encourage and support subversion of the electoral process in order to illegally allow a favored, political faction to gain control of the government?

    Since when do defendants and suspects get to determine the scope of an investigation, or the prerogatives of the prosecutor’s office? On what planet do these people live? Since when does the threat of political discord threaten the rule of law? Who do these Democrats and their media apologists think they are? We are talking about sedition and treason and nothing less! Hello?

    There was a fraud committed upon the court, the FISA court. In most organizations, Rosenstien would have accepted responsibility and resigned immediately. He was the Deputy Director of the FBI and, in at least one instance we know sure certain, he actually committed the fraud himself. He did sign the application didn’t he? He did know the dossier was funded by both the DNC and the Hillary campaign and he did withhold that information from the court didn’t he? Would anyone care to wager there was at least one phone call connected to these four (4) fraudulent applicants? That would constitute an additional charge of conspiracy for Mr. Rosenstien.

    Looking at the official record of Congressional Democrats before and after the fact makes it seem as, if they may all be considered co-conspirators. What we may very well have, indeed by all appearances is a coordinated act to overthrow the government by virtue of tampering with the election process to obtain a certain, prejudicial result. And there is ample evidence to indicate both Obama and Hillary Clinton were responsible. In any event, ultimate responsibility and perhaps actual criminality will inevitably be shown to lay at their feet.

    Even, if we forget about the Justice department and the FBI per se, a Special Council is needed to examine a possible conspiracy by Congressional Democrats as well as the apparent crimes of at least a dozen high ranking officials. We also need a major, independent investigation into the dissemination of false information and outrageous opinion by the media. That which is commonly referred to as the news is so tainted by opinion and spin as to simply be unsupportable by the factual record. The nation is daily exposed to, nay smothered in false information, or fake news, which is methodically and consistently disseminated by a media with its own agenda, 24/7.

    We simply cannot and will not long endure as a nation of 320 million schizophrenics processing two separate and opposing realities. Every reasonable person in America today can tell you something isn’t right, or legitimate as far as the main stream media is concerned. I believe the time has come for a good look at anti monopoly law. In a modern 21st/c paradigm, the public must be allowed quick and easy access to everyday, factual, objective information. As it stands, the corporate dominated market place simply doesn’t allow for very much competition, or the free flow of information either.

    The main stream media controls the lion’s share of our media coverage yet it never makes any attempt to include a dissenting voice to its outrageous presentation and incredible interpretation of factual material. The truth is simply the nightly news resembles more the birthday party at the red queen’s court than anything anyone would confuse with reality. The entire nation can see conspiracy and conspiracy working hand and glove with the Democratic Party, the Congressional Democrats most particularly. Examine the record starting as far back as anyone cares to go. Democrats misrepresent and the media swears to it, presenting false narratives. False narratives and false conspiracy theories saturate the mainstream cable outlets and network news and everyone knows it.

    The nation can now see plainly that a fifth column within government aided and abetted by a media determined to present a false and malicious version of factual information interfered with the election of President Trump. I may not be the first to make the comment, but allow me add my voice. It is a disgrace, an absolute disgrace, an insult to the republic, our democratic form of government and free men everywhere and, almost as aside an insult to our collective intelligence. It is an absolute disgrace that leaves us repeating ourselves, almost stuttering and stammering in disbelief.

    • No, the nation DOESN’T see it. Trump’s numbers would be higher. The simple fact is that a full half of this nation has gone completely social democratic. They want the limp wristed, champaigne clutching, fake laughing world of European nobility to come to America. In Europe, the citizenry is nice and well behaved. They don’t have unruly, politically active libertarians, capitalist radicals, and Marx hating citizens like we do in this nation. The elites know they can’t have Europe without a quiescent, governable population that puts total faith in their government and the technocratic institutions that make it up. They can only do that by importing that population, while training and educating the younger generations.

      They feel they are danger close to becoming a permanent Democratic Socialist State like France, Denmark and Germany where elites hold complete power almost entirely free from democratic processes.

      • I fear you are under estimating the American people. The half of this nation, which you cite has just lost the President election. President Trump did win.

      • President Trump won by the skin of our teeth. It wasn’t pre-ordained or a landslide. We squeaked by with sheer luck. A few thousand less democrats came out to vote than Republicans. That won’t happen again. The Progs are angry as hornets and they have numbers and worse, control of the commanding heights of the media, pop culture and education establishments.

      • No, I see your point, but his win was legitimate and his electoral votes were considerable. Now that the people see him and what he has accomplished, the margins will be better and the Democrats chances of rigging the voting are lessened.

        Progs are angry sure and everyone of them will turn out too, but they aren’t enough to win by themselves. They still need the independents to turn out. And no one is turning out for Nancy or Chuck, or $hit head Schiff. And wait the IG report still hasn’t come out. The perps are still to walk, but the nation is going to get an eye full of Bill and Hill and black faced Barrack and what all they were really all about and more. Democrats are going to get their collective azzez kicked in 2018. Just watch.

  3. Really ? awfully filling for a nothing burger. Can’t wait for the nothing dessert ,to send these corrupt public servants to jail. After all if our taxes are going to their room and board ,I think prison is better money spent than a mansion.

    • Don’t worry….Mueller is working on your dessert now. It should be ready soon.

      • Mueller can find his desert in the back of his adult DIAPERS. He is in a CORNER with NO WAY OUT !!!!

      • If he truly is investigating Russian Collusion ,then Hillary ,along with Schiff will be indicted. Yes that would be desert.. Why would Socialists collude with a poster boy of Capitalism? The very idea is stupid. Hillary would be a much more favored President by Russia,far as Trump collusion ,there is nothing there.

      • Hey – great then! This will work out great for tRump and the Republicans. That being the case, I’m sure they’ll let the investigation proceed unimpeded.

      • I just don’t understand. WHY are you so filled with faith that Mueller has some kind of evidence on Trump? We at least have text messages, sworn testimony during numerous congressional hearings, the FISA application, and numerous other documents that show beyond a doubt that the FBI used the FAKE Trump Dossier to gain an illegal FISA warrant. We have proof, yet you go on about Trump.

        I can at least point to solid proof, if not damning evidence, of a conspiracy within the FBI that goes up at least to Loretta Lynch if not Obama himself.

        You have faith, and only faith, that Mueller has some magic evidence card up his sleeve.

        I hate to tell you, but money laundering a decade ago, or tax evasion a decade ago, or unpaid parking tickets from a decade ago, are not enough to convince Republican Senators to give up their jobs voting to convict Trump’s impeachment or have the historical first of a US President convicted via impeachment be a Republican. No way in hell.

        You better hope Mueller has audio/video recordings of Trump talking with Putin himself or some close aide about something actionable. Because some piddly white collar crime isn’t going to be enough to remove that man from office without an immediate armed revolution among the right in this country.

      • Then you have nothing to worry about and ol’ Tiny Hands should just let this ‘nothing’ of an investigation by Mueller play out to the end.

        Right?

  4. But … But … Brennan and Clapper told congressional hearing that this wasn’t happening.

  5. “Illegality..ho hum” reflects Democratic estrangement from any law they don’t like and from the rule of law.

    If we had Jeff Sessions as AG, I’m sure he’d do the right thing with these types. Whoever actually is AG must be scared of something.

  6. I believe it’s time to rise up and to stop these attacks on our President, our Country, our system and way of life that is steadily being chipped away and turned into a banana republic type of country so that a small cabal can pilfer our blessings and steadily remove our rights; to restore this nation to it’s former glory that has been slowly chipped away by many of the people that are and have attacked the integrity of our president for their own benefit. I’ve written to the White House and you can too. We need to do more than discuss the implications of “the memo.” We need to become proactive and take a stand for what we believe in; freedom, the rule of law and government of, by and for the people. These people must be prosecuted for their crimes. This nonsense needs to be stopped.

    Written by a regular citizen:

    Here’s the link for the White house:

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/get-involved/write-or-call/

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

    • It would be nice for the liberals to suddenly become sane again, but don’t hold your breath. You see, they thought Obama would be the beginning of a liberal ruling dynasty. They just knew that within a couple of Clinton terms, that America would be the newest Communist state and we would be enslaved for a century or two or longer. They still have that dream and it won’t disappear until all of those little dreamers are lobotomized or take the celestial dirt nap. The one thing we must do is to get these creatures out of the education system. They are poisonous to society and infect our youth with their villainy and lies.

      • Thats really hard though because even though these people are quislings, they earned their positions by going to school and checking all the right boxes and in meritocratic America that confers upon them legitimacy. Legitmacy that the blue collar beer drinking hard case doesn’t get in our society.

        Like it or not, we can’t just invade college campuses and start holding show trials on the quad before shooting these leftist professors in firing squads. That wouldnt’ look good on world TV.

  7. Only Andy McCarthy at NRO seems to have the capacity to separate his emotion from principle when writing about the memo.
    Truly disappointed by both Goldberg and especially French, both should know better.
    Unlike far to many RINO Comgressman, Nunes has a backbone and desire to protect the Constitution.