Nunes memo: Democrats, Republicans cry wolf

Caleb Simons, Reporter

Everything’s an argument in America: gun control, tide pods, kneeling during the anthem, and presidential elections. Nowhere has the argument been more fierce than over the FBI’s special counsel Investigation into Russia’s influence in the 2016 election.

On February 2nd, the House Intelligence Committee released a hotly contested memo written by the head of the committee, Devin Nunes. Nunes claimed that his memo had relevant information about the investigation into Russian meddling. Partisan reactions to this were, predictably, hysterical. Democrats called it a sham and an unrecoverable step away from how things are done. Republicans had their own story, claiming it was “bigger than Watergate,” and evidence that the deep state is looking for dirt on the Trump Presidency. They blamed Democrats and demanded its immediate release.

The Nunes memo doesn’t kill the Mueller investigation, and it doesn’t do much beyond cast doubt on the FBI’s integrity. However, it isn’t a ‘nothing burger’ or a Republican attempt to shield Trump and destroy the FBI’s credibility.

The Memo claims that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to surveil Carter Page, an advisor in the 2016 Trump Campaign. The information that the FBI presented to obtain a warrant was gathered by Christopher Steele, who was paid more than $160,000 by the Democratic National Committee to find damaging information on the candidate Trump. Using opposition research to take out a warrant is highly unethical and possibly illegal.

   FISA warrants essentially wave usual electronic privacy laws so that the FBI can gather intel on a suspect. FISA warrants hold so much power that they must be renewed every 90 days. Each renewal requires new evidence, and that any favorable evidence for the suspect to be presented. Only a footnote notified the courts that the evidence was opposition-funded and therefore politically motivated.

Many Democrats have claimed that the Nunes memo is designed to shield President Trump and shoot down the Mueller investigation. Democrats severely disagree with President Trump, and there’s no denying that many would like to see him impeached and removed from the White House. The Mueller Investigation is where they are hanging their hopes. That’s why they will fight any document that threatens the credibility of the investigation.

The origins of the Mueller Investigation, in fact, predate the events outlined in the memo. And yet, Democrats continue to claim that Republicans are targeting their enemies. They’re so fierce on this issue because they believe that Donald Trump could not beat Hillary Clinton without Russian help, and Democrats will chase this story to the bitter end.

This isn’t unique to the situation. Liberal culture struggles to accept anything but their side, and this hurts their political strategy. The Democrat’s inability to find common ground, such as hardlining over DACA and the Wall, makes them unapproachable and contemptuous of the other side.

In recent political history, Democratic leaders have not shown themselves keen to uphold the integrity and fairness of government activity. The botched Hillary probe into her mishandling of classified information through private emails set a precedent in many conservative’s minds that the FBI wouldn’t uphold a standard of fair treatment. That’s why, when they read the Nunes Memo, Republicans feel skeptical about the FBI’s integrity.

It’s at this point that many Republicans, reading the memo, are going off the deep end and yelling, well, look at what the FBI did for Hillary! The whole deep state is out to get Trump!

This isn’t entirely without merit. Evidence suggests that former FBI Director Comey planned to exonerate Mrs. Clinton before he even interviewed her.

The issue is that Republicans are in danger of becoming steeped in conspiracy theories. It’s likely that officials in the FBI made biased decisions. However, Republicans should not jump to the conclusion that the entire deep state and intelligence community is out to find dirt on President Trump. Doing so without evidence will make the Republican party guilty of the exact same thing that they accuse the Democrats of: targeting someone for an agenda.

Clearly, certain FBI officials made some biased decisions and it is possible that in similar fashion to the IRS, the FBI was used by politicians to target rivals. The facts of the Nunes Memo can’t be ignored. A shadow of doubt has been cast over the FBI. Trust has to be earned, and right now the FBI has to do just that for the American People.