Republicans Release Nunes Memo Over Strong Objections From the FBI and Justice Department

President Donald Trump approved the move, seen as part of a Republican effort to discredit law enforcement officers.

Bill Clark/ZUMA

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On Friday, House Republicans released a highly controversial four-page memo alleging the FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to obtain a warrant targeting a Trump campaign adviser—a decision that flagrantly disregards the FBI’s “grave concerns” that the memo paints a false picture.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, prepared the memo earlier this month, but it remained classified as House Republicans and conservative media pundits launched an aggressive social media campaign to #ReleaseTheMemo. The Justice Department warned against this “extraordinarily reckless” push, but ultimately, President Donald Trump green-lighted the decision to publicly disclose the document.

Meanwhile, Democrats who had seen the memo charged Nunes with deliberately distorting classified information to build a tenuous case that the FBI had used unlawful surveillance methods to spy on Trump associates. Nunes, they argued, was simply trying to discredit the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential collusion with people close to Trump.

CNN reported Thursday that the president admitted to associates that he viewed the memo’s release as a strategy to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller.

As the memo’s release appeared imminent, some Republicans, most notably Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), one of the leading Republicans behind the #ReleaseTheMemo campaign, appeared to walk back their initial hyping of the memo’s bombshell nature. “To say that it’s so earth-shattering, as some of my colleagues have been saying—I believe, based on a number of things I’ve seen that there were a number of things that were done inappropriately,” Meadows said Sunday.

Nunes gained attention last year when he fanned the flames of a groundless conspiracy theory accusing the Obama administration of authorizing the illegal “unmasking” of Trump campaign officials.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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