Want more details than that? Alas, you’re out of luck. The Daily Beast claims that all three men are mentioned in the memo but doesn’t elaborate. Since the memo is allegedly about Russiagate-related misconduct, the inference is that all three are specifically accused of misconduct too, although it’s only an inference.
What would the misconduct be in Rosenstein’s case? He’s a Trump appointee who didn’t become deputy AG until April of last year, long after the investigation began. His most famous act with respect to Russiagate was naming Bob Mueller special counsel after Jeff Sessions recused himself from the probe. He also wrote Sessions a memo last May strongly suggesting that Comey should be fired before Trump pulled the trigger, although Nunes obviously isn’t going to fault Rosenstein for that. Maybe he dings him for failing to follow Sessions’s lead by recusing himself from the probe as well, since his role in Comey’s firing could matter to Mueller’s obstruction investigation of the president?
No way to know. Which is yet another reason why it’s time to #ReleaseTheMemo.
A controversial Republican memo alleging surveillance abuse specifically names FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein along with former FBI Director James Comey.
Capitol Hill sources on both sides of the aisle say the memo’s release is only a matter of time. And when it comes out, these current and former officials — all GOP bêtes noires — are likely to face even more criticism from the right over their involvement in FBI counterintelligence work.
Stephen Boyd, an assistant Attorney General (appointed by Trump, by the way), sent Nunes a letter last night warning him that it would be “extraordinarily reckless” to release the memo without letting the DOJ or FBI vet it first to make sure it doesn’t inadvertently spill classified information that needs to be kept secret for national security purposes. After all, Boyd reminded Nunes, you haven’t even seen all of the classified material that the memo’s based on. It was Trey Gowdy who reviewed that material for the GOP majority on the House Intel Committee, not Nunes:
As luck would have it, Gowdy was booked on CNN last night after Boyd’s letter was published to answer the criticism. The full interview’s below but this Examiner piece flags some of the key bits. How can Boyd complain about a memo that he hasn’t even read, Gowdy wonders. It hasn’t been shared yet with the FBI, remember, although Gowdy’s open to letting that happen.
Burnett also asked about the significance of Boyd, a nominee of President Trump, sending a letter to Nunes and saying that the DOJ is “unaware of any wrongdoing” related to the FISA process.
“I mean, I would say this again. I like Stephen. I work well with him,” Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, replied. “It’s really difficult to say a memo is reckless when you haven’t read it. To the extent he says that they’ve seen no evidence of any impropriety or untowardness or inappropriate conduct during the process we just respectfully disagree.”
During his interview, Gowdy advised President Trump, who after a successful vote from the intelligence panel would have five days to block its release, not to allow the declassification of the underlying material in order to protect members of the intelligence community. But the South Carolina Republican said it is still possible to have a valid conversation about it without divulging classified information if done “adroitly” and “carefully.”
Boyd didn’t say that the memo was “reckless,” though. Follow the link above and read his letter for yourself. He said it would be reckless to publish the memo without first letting the DOJ’s intelligence arm look it over to make sure nothing’s in there that would create natsec problems. And as for Gowdy’s suggestion that it’s fine to release the memo but not the underlying intelligence, that’s not going to fly. Redact the raw intel as necessary to protect sources and methods, but if we’re going to blow up the FBI and the DOJ for some grand conspiracy to take down the president based on a shoddy dossier, we’re going to need to see some hard evidence. Just like the FISA Court did when it greenlit the first surveillance in the Russiagate probe.
Gowdy has seen the raw intel, though, and he’s very clear here that he thinks impropriety occurred. Showdown’s coming.