I read the memo, which the FBI has called misleading, and these are my thoughts:
In general, some takeaways:
Like most congressional democrats, and unlike most congressional republicans, I am concerned about the use of surveillance of Americans. I am happy that this is now a concern of republicans, most of whom voted to authorize this kind of surveillance of Americans. Welcome to the club. Maybe start caring about stuff before it affects things you like or care about next time, and care about things that affect others before it comes to haunt you.
I don’t really know what is news here. I’ve been following the story for a while, and all of these claims have been made already. Maybe not in any official capacity, but it’s been argued in the news that the Steele dossier was the critical evidence for the FISA warrant, and others have said that it was only a piece. It’s hard for me to imagine that seasoned folks at the FBI wouldn’t think carefully about stuff before going for a warrant, but I could be wrong about that.
The whole thing reads like a motion to dismiss filed by a defense team for Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. I’m not sure how that will play out, but it’s noteworthy that it never asserts their innocence, but seeks a means by which their cases should be dismissed on technicalities.
Here are my thoughts to the specific points, in order:
On part 1) Just because Steele was paid by democrats (and then by republicans — a fact not mentioned in the memo), doesn’t mean that his information was inaccurate, and I seriously doubt that experienced members of the law enforcement community would take it as fact without considering the material and the source of the material.
On part 2) Again, I don’t question that there are issues with Steele, and I personally don’t believe a lot of the stuff that was said in the dossier, but I find it hard to believe that the FBI wouldn’t consider this when taking the serious steps of deciding whether or not to investigate somebody, especially somebody close to the president of the united states (or a candidate for that office or anybody working for a candidate of that office).
On point 3): Same as above…I’m not in law enforcement, and what I imagine can happen is certainly influenced by movies, but aren’t informants often imperfect and unreliable? Isn’t it the job of the agents to determine what’s worth taking as evidence and what’s worth ignoring? Do we really think these people are incapable of doing that.
On point 4): Same as above…
On point 5): OK, so somebody didn’t like Trump, and was investigating somebody close to Trump, and was fired for being completely anti-Trump and showing bias in his investigation…this is supposed to be news? Didn’t we know this already?
Don’t take my word for it. Read it for yourself here.