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Nunes Memo Was ‘Effort To Shut Down The Mueller Investigation,’ Dem Rep. Says

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., enters the House Intelligence Committee area on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, where former White House strategist Stephen Bannon is being interviewed. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)MoreCloseclosemore
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., enters the House Intelligence Committee area on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, where former White House strategist Stephen Bannon is being interviewed. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

A House Republican-authored memo purports to reveal FBI and Department of Justice abuses in an investigation of an American citizen who worked for Donald Trump’s campaign.

But even Republicans are now walking away from the president’s more bombastic claims about the so-called Nunes memo — even though it was a transparent effort to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, a Democratic representative told NPR’s On Point Monday.

“It was in fact being done as an effort to shut down the Mueller investigation and to vindicate the president,” U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, who represents San Mateo and San Francisco, told NPR’s On Point Monday. “And certainly that was the talking point (President Trump) used on Twitter over the weekend.”

But Republicans are now getting new marching orders from U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican and “straight shooter” who has said the memo has nothing to do with the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Speier said.

“The Democrats, I might add, probably overreacted,” Speier said. “We were just so disturbed by the fact that sources and methods were being revealed.”

Speier is on the committee that ended up releasing the Republican-authored memo.

So is U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican of Arkansas who also joined our program and, contra Speier, defended the memo.

“This memo was never about trying to vindicate or exonerate the president,” Crawford said, but instead trying to reveal that “a handful of officials exhibited a political bias in the exercise of a request for a FISA warrant.”

A FISA warrant is used to surveil someone who allegedly is working for another country, according to the Washington Post.

The Nunes memo, spearheaded by Republican U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, purports to uncover abuses in how the Department of Justice got a foreign intelligence surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The memo criticizes the Department of Justice for, among other things, not revealing to a Foreign Intelligence Service Court judge that some of the information it was using to get probable cause to surveil Page was from a document paid for by Democrats.

But, multiple fact-checkers including the Washington Post have reported, the investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties actually started well before the Carter Page warrant — a fact that even the Nunes memo acknowledges. It's also clear, the Washington Post and numerous outlets have reported, that the so-called Steele dossier, funded in part by Democrats, was not the only basis for the FISA warrant.

We were also joined by writer Tim Weiner and Reuters reporter Jonathan Landay on our show. The full show can be found by clicking the play button above or by visiting this page.

Brian Amaral Twitter Digital Producer, On Point
Brian was a digital producer for On Point.

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