Why the Memo Is So Significant

Information known so far shows threat to the very foundation of our democracy
January 30, 2018 Updated: February 3, 2018    

News Analysis

A House Intelligence Committee memo that is set to become public has set off intense speculation about its exact contents.

Those who have seen it, described it as “shocking” and as a threat to our republic.

Major news organizations, including The New York Times, have worked around the clock to discredit the memo ahead of its release, writing it off as a conspiracy theory. However, these are the same media organizations that have pushed the unproven narrative that Trump colluded with the Russian government for over a year.

So what do we know so far?

Those who have seen the memo, described it as ‘shocking’ and as a threat to our republic.

We know for a fact that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid Fusion GPS, through law firm Perkins Coie, to produce an opposition research document on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

We also know, through the reporting of award-winning national security reporter Sara Carter, that the FBI used the so-called Trump Dossier, to obtain a FISA surveillance warrant to spy on the Trump team.

It is also a fact that top FBI officials, including Peter Strzok, the lead FBI agent on both the Hillary Clinton email server and the Trump campaign case, sent numerous text messages to FBI lawyer Lisa Page showing a clear bias in favor of Clinton and against Trump.

Strzok later went on to become part of Robert Mueller’s special counsel team, but was fired after the biased text messages had been uncovered by the Department of Justice inspector general.

We also know for a fact that top Obama officials, including his National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and his ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, made dozens if not hundreds of so-called unmasking requests for the identities of members of Trump’s team during and after the elections.

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This type of spying on Americans had been detailed in a declassified top-secret NSA report published in April 2017. The report shows that so-called minimization and targeting procedures aimed at avoiding Americans being spied on were systematically violated by the NSA and the FBI under the Obama administration.

We also know for a fact that there were numerous leaks from the Obama administration to media organizations pushing the false Russia collusion narrative. Former FBI Director James Comey testified under oath before Congress in June last year that most of the reporting based on these anonymous intelligence leaks was incorrect.

We also know that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who had overseen a report investigating the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections, has repeatedly said, including under oath before Congress, that no evidence was found of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

We also know for a fact, based on court documents in the UK, that former British spy Christopher Steele, who had been hired by Fusion GPS to produce the Trump dossier, had given secret briefings to media organizations on at least two occasions. These media included The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, The New Yorker, and Yahoo News.

We also know from court documents filed by the House Intelligence Committee that Fusion GPS made direct payments to journalists who covered Russia related matters.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, at the U.S. Capitol on March 7, 2017. (WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES)

These facts alone paint a frightening picture. One of a presidential candidate working hand in hand with a sitting administration and the most powerful law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the world against her political opponent.

When the memo is released, we will surely learn more facts about this scandal.

The difficult question Americans will face is how we address this grave threat to democracy itself.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) sees this memo as tied to the future of the United States as we know it. In a statement released by his office, he said, “There is no higher priority than the release of this information to preserve our democracy.”

If the memo indeed shows that there was a conspiracy to use state power to aide a favored political candidate and to attempt to destroy her opponents’ candidacy, then it will have revealed that we have entered a dangerous new era in American history in 2016—one that people will have to be held accountable for.