Given Mr. Nunes’s own close relations to the White House as a former member of the executive committee of the Trump transition team, and his previous history conferring with White House officials on matters under investigation by his committee, it is fair to surmise that his staff, perhaps at his direction, may have coordinated the memo with the White House.
Such conduct could expose Mr. Nunes and his staff to liability for conspiracy to obstruct justice. According to press accounts, the Nunes memo may be designed at least in part to provide the president an excuse for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the individual with supervisory authority over Mr. Mueller, the special counsel in charge of the investigation. The purported scheme: clear a path to install a Trump-friendly replacement who would either fire Mr. Mueller or otherwise defang the investigation. Indeed, after the memo was released the president did nothing to quell these suspicions, ominously responding “you figure that one out” when asked if the memo made him more likely to fire Mr. Rosenstein. The double standard applied by the president in refusing the immediate release of a rebuttal memo offered by the minority is hardly reassuring as to his good intentions.