Does the Nunes Memo Discredit The Russia Probe? Republicans Disagree

While some Republicans spent the weekend attempting to downplay links between a controversial memo and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russia collusion, others — including President Trump — have sought to use the memo as a vehicle for questioning the legitimacy of the Russia probe.

The conflicting responses to the memo — which Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., authored and fought for weeks to release — have highlighted lingering divisions among Republicans about how to approach the Russia controversy: with caution or with defiance.

And Trump’s claim that the memo “totally vindicates” him in the Russia investigation has put him at odds with members of his party who have warned against efforts to use the document’s findings against Mueller or to impugn the FBI as an organization.

“The memo was not exactly the smoking gun it was billed as by congressional Republicans, nor did the memo’s release threaten national security, as the Democrats and the FBI were bellowing,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist. “But it does confirm that the FBI was using the Steele dossier to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter [Page].”

The GOP-authored memo claimed the Justice Department had used a dossier of opposition research compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele in an application for a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser. The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee had paid for the creation of the Steele dossier, but the memo alleged the Justice Department did not disclose the political origins of the dossier when it sought to wiretap Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Read more from Sarah Westwood at the Washington Examiner

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