Report: Dem Who Saw Underlying Materials Says Nunes Memo ‘Deliberately Misleading’

Rep. Jerry Nadler speaks with Reps Cedric Richmond, CBC and Judiciary Deomocrats by his side, as they introduced a resolution to censure President Donald Trump for what they called racist comments on Haiti, African Countries and El Salvador, on Capitol Hill, on Thursday, January 18, 2018. (Photo by Cheriss May) (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto)
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Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the top ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and one of a small handful of lawmakers to have seen the underlying materials on which the so-called “Nunes memo” was based, asserted Saturday that Nunes’ document is “deliberately misleading.”

Nadler made the claim in his own six-page memo, a list of talking points for fellow Democratic lawmakers which NBC News obtained and published on its website Saturday. The outlet reported that Nadler’s memo was to be distributed to all House Democrats on Saturday.

“Although I have had the benefit of reading the materials that form the basis for the Nunes memo, most members have not — including, reportedly, Chairman Nunes,” Nadler wrote. (Nunes confirmed in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier Friday that he had not personally read those materials — applications for a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign official Carter Page)

“Accordingly,” Nadler continued, “I am forwarding the legal analysis below for use by your office based on my review the [sic] Nunes memo and on outside sources.”

Nadler’s memo is separate from the memo crafted by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, which Republicans on the committee voted to block from release. That memo, unlike Nadler’s, is classified and would need either the President or committee Republicans’ support to be released publicly.

Rather, Nadler’s memo focuses on countering Nunes’ arguments, first addressing Nunes’ disputed claim that the Steele dossier “formed an essential part” of the government’s application for a warrant to surveil Carter Page, and that the FBI, improperly, did not disclose the political nature of the dossier’s creation.

“If not for this misrepresentation to the court, the story goes, there never would have been a Russia investigation,” Nadler wrote, characterizing Nunes’ argument. “This claim is deliberately misleading and deeply wrong on the law.”

Also, Nadler wrote, Nunes provides no proof that the government “knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth” misled the FISA court with its warrant application — what Nadler and others identify as an established legal standard.

House Intelligence Committee Democrats, including the committee’s ranking member, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), said the FISA court was made aware that a portion of the government’s evidence came from a political source. Nunes called Swalwell’s claim lie in his interview with Baier.

Nadler did not address that dispute specifically, saying instead that Nunes’ memo failed to show that “Steele’s work was compromised by the source of funding.”

“We have no idea if Christopher Steele even knew the source of his funding when Fusion GPS first hired him to research Donald Trump’s connections to the Russian government,” he added later.

Nadler went on to assert, counter to some Republicans’ claims, that Nunes’ memo provides no legitimate justification for President Trump to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — though Trump was evasive on that point Thursday. 

Nadler closed with his most aggressive point: “The Nunes memo shows,” the last of four numbered sections reads, “that House Republicans are now part and parcel to an organized effort to obstruct the Special Counsel’s investigation.”

Read NBC News report here. Read Nadler’s document, obtained and published by NBC News, here.