THE DON JONES INDEX…

 

GAINS POSTED in GREEN

  LOSSES POSTED in RED

 

          3/5/18…  15,625.07

        2/26/18…  15,647.25 6/27/13…  15,000.00

      

(THE DOW JONES INDEX:  3/5/18… 24,538.06; 2/26/18… 25,309.99; 6/27/13… 15,000.00)

 

LESSON for March 5, 2018 – FACTIONS in REDACTION!

 

Weeks after the release of the controversial memo from the office of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the fake news Washpost declared that “we now have the Democrats' official response.”

Well, some of it.

Before deigning the voting, taxpaying public to view what their Representatives stated, the report had to pass through the process of redaction… essentially allowing those at greatest risk of embarrassment or criminal indictment (hello, President Trump!) to X-out portions of the document as might reflect negatively upon them.

Nunes called the resulting document “a nothingburger”.  For once, in his greasy little career, he was right.

“Let’s review,” said the fake news New York Times while the redaction action was still in progress.  “Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman until August 2016, is credibly alleged to have received $12.7 million in “undisclosed cash payments” from then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a Russian stooge. Had Manafort not been exposed, he might have gone on to occupy a position of trust in the Trump administration, much as Reagan campaign manager Bill Casey wound up running the C.I.A. He would then have been easy prey to Russian blackmail.

“George Papadopoulos, the young adviser who pleaded guilty last year to lying to the F.B.I., spent his time on the campaign trying to make overtures to Russia. In May 2016 he blabbed to an Australian diplomat that Moscow had political dirt on Hillary Clinton — information that proved true and was passed on to U.S. intelligence. This was the genesis of an F.B.I. counterintelligence investigation, as the Nunes memo itself admits.

“And then there’s Carter Page, the man at the center of the Nunes memo. By turns stupid (his Ph.D. thesis was twice rejected), self-important (he has compared himself to Martin Luther King Jr.), and money-hungry (a suspected Russian agent who tried to recruit him in 2013 was recorded saying he “got hooked on Gazprom”), Page happens also to be highly sympathetic to the Putin regime. The Russian phrase for such characters is polezni durak — pol drunk?useful idiot. No wonder he was invited to give a commencement speech at a Russian university in the summer of 2016. That’s how assets are cultivated in the world of intelligence.”

Nunes and/or Trump and other Republicans must have thought it was “intelligent” to demand that portions of the Democratic response be blacked out.  So it would follow that either the REDACTED response was indeed a nothingburger (with a side of notfries and a cool cup of Flint water) or that the REDACTED revelations contained info that might lead to the toppling of the government.  Since all the donkey HIPSIES are still alive and smirking, it follows that the covfefe over their nothingburger is, itself, a nothingburger.

But why quibble?  Read the whole REDACTED thing yourself, along with various notes from interested mediots and, as ever, their peanut galleries.  (A single, pertinent pair of sentences near THE END have been highlighted in YELLOW.  Why?  Read on…

 

TO: All Members of the House of Representatives

FROM: HPSCI Minority

DATE: January 29, 20l 8

RE: Correcting the Record The (sic) Russia Investigations

The Majority's move to release to the House of Representatives its allegations against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice is a transparent effort to undermine those agencies, the Special Counsel, and Congress' investigations. It also risks public exposure of sensitive sources and methods for no legitimate purpose.

FBI and DOJ officials did not abuse the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process, omit material information, or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign.

In fact, DOJ and the FBI would have been remiss in their duty to protect the country had they not sought a FISA warrant and repeated renewals to conduct temporary surveillance of Carter Page, someone the FBI assessed to be an agent of the Russian government. DOJ met the rigor, transparency, and evidentiarv basis needed to meet probable cause requirement, by demonstrating:

        contemporaneous evidence of Russia's election interference;

        concerning Russian links and outreach to Trump campaign officials;

        Page's history with Russian intelligence; and

        REDACTED Page's suspicious activities in 2016, including in Moscow.

The Committee's Minority has therefore prepared this memorandum to correct the record:

        Christopher Steele's raw intelligence reporting did not inform the decision to initiate its counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016. In fact, the FBI's closely-held investigative team only received Steele's reporting in mid-September more than seven weeks later. The FBI and, subsequently, the Special Counsel's investigation into links between the Russian government and Trump campaign associates has been based on troubling law enforcement and intelligence information unrelated to the "dossier."

        DOJ's October 21, 2016 FISA application and three subsequent renewals carefully outlined for the Court a multi-pronged rationale for surveilling Page, who, at the time of the first application, was no longer with the Trump campaign. DOJ detailed Page's past relationships with Russian spies and interaction with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign REDACTED. DOJ cited multiple sources to support the case for surveilling Page but made only narrow use of information from Steele's sources about Page's specific activities in 2016, chiefly his suspected July 2016 meetings in Moscow with Russian officials. REDACTED. In fact, the FBI interviewed Page in March 2016 about his contact with Russian intelligence, the very month candidate Donald Trump named him a foreign policy adviser. As DOJ informed the Court in subsequent renewals, REDACTED, Steele's reporting about Page's Moscow meetings REDACTED. DOJ's applications did not otherwise rely on Steele's reporting, including any "salacious" allegations about Trump, and the FBI never paid Steele for this reporting. While explaining why the FBI viewed Steele's reporting and sources as reliable and credible, DOJ also disclosed:

        Steele's prior relationship with the FBI

        the fact of and reason for his termination as a source; and

        the assessed political motivation of those who hired him.

        The Committee Majority's memorandum, which draws selectively on highly sensitive classified information,includes other distortions and misrepresentations that are contradicted by the underlying classified documents, which the vast majority of Members of the Committee and the House have not had the opportunity to review — and which Chairman Nunes chose not to read himself.

Background

On January 18, 20l8, the Committee Majority, during an unrelated business meeting, forced a surprise vote to release to the full House a profoundly misleading memorandum alleging serious abuses by the FBI and DOJ. Majority staff drafted the document in secret on behalf of Chairman Devin Nunes (and reportedly with guidance and input from Rep. Trey Gowdy), and then rushed a party-line vote without prior notice.

This was by design. The overwhelming majority of Committee Members never received DOJ authorization to access the underlying classified information, and therefore could not judge the veracity of Chairman Nunes' claims. Due to sensitive sources and methods, DOJ provided access only to the Committee's Chair and Ranking Member (or respective designees), and limited staff, to facilitate the Committee's investigation into Russia's covert campaign to influence the 2016 US. elections. As DOJ has confirmed publicly, it did not authorize the broader release of this information within Congress or to the public, and Chairman Nunes refused to allow and the FBI to review his document until he permitted the FBI Director to see it for the first time in secure spaces late on Sunday, January 28 — 10 days after disclosure to the House.

FBI's Counterintelligence Investigation

In its October 2016 FISA application and subsequent renewals, DOJ accurately informed the Court that the FBI initiated its counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016, after receiving information REDACTED. George Papadopoulos revealed REDACTED that individuals linked to Russia, who took interest in Papadopoulos as a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, informed him in late April 2016 that Russia REDACTED. Papadopoulos's disclosure, moreover, occurred against the backdrop of Russia's aggressive covert campaign to influence our elections, which the FBI was already monitoring. We would later learn in Papadopoulos's plea that the information the Russians could assist by anonymously releasing were thousands of Hillary Clinton's emails.

DOJ told the Court the truth. Its representation was consistent with the underlying investigative record, which current and former senior officials later corroborated in extensive Committee testimony. Christopher Steele's reporting, which he began to share with an FBI agent through the end of October 2016, played no role in launching the counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference and links to the Trump campaign. In fact, Steele's reporting did not reach the counterintelligence team investigating Russia at FBI headquarters until mid-September 2016, more than seven weeks after the opened its investigation, because the probe's existence was so closely held within the FBI. By then, the FBI had already opened sub-inquiries into REDACTED individuals linked to the Trump campaign: REDACTED, and former campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

As Committee testimony bears out, the FBI would have continued its investigation, including against REDACTED individuals, even if it had never received information from Steele, never applied for a FISA warrant against Page, or if the FISC had rejected the application.

DOJ's FISA Application and Renewals

The initial warrant application and subsequent renewals received independent scrutiny and approval by four different federal judges, TWO of whom were appointed by President George W. Bush [ONE BY GEORGE H.W BUSH] and one by President Ronald Reagan. DOJ first applied to the FISC on October 21, 2016, for a warrant to permit the FBI to initiate electronic surveillance and physical search of Page for 90 days, consistent with FISA requirements. The Court approved three renewals — in early January 2017, early April 2017, and late June 2017 — which authorized the FBI to maintain surveillance on Page until late September 2017. Senior DOJ and FBI officials appointed by the Obama and Trump Administrations, including acting Attorney General Dana Boente and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, certified the applications with the Court.

FISA was not used to spy on Trump or his campaign. As the Trump campaign and Page have acknowledged, Page ended his formal affiliation with the campaign months before DOJ applied for a warrant. DOJ, moreover, submitted the initial application less than three weeks before the election, even though the investigation had been ongoing since the end of July 2016.

DOJ's warrant request was based on compelling evidence and probable cause to believe Page was knowingly assisting clandestine Russian intelligence activities in the U.S.:

        Page's Connections to Russian Government and Intelligence Officials: The FBI had an independent basis for investigating Page's motivations and actions during the campaign, transition, and following the inauguration. As DOJ described in detail to the Court, Page had an extensive record as REDACTED prior to joining the Trump campaign. He resided in Moscow from 2004-2007 and pursued business deals with Russia's state-owned energy company Gazprom — REDACTED.

As early as REDACTED, a Russian intelligence officer REDACTED targeted Page for recruitment. Page showed REDACTED.

Page remained on the radar of Russian intelligence and the FBI. In 2013, prosecutors indicted three other Russian spies, two of whom targeted Page for recruitment. The FBI also interviewed Page multiple times about his Russian intelligence contacts, including in March 2016. The concern about and knowledge of Page's activities therefore long predate the receipt of Steele's information.

        Page's Suspicious Activity During the 2016 Campaign: The FISA applications also detail Page's suspicious activity after joining the Trump campaign in March 2016. REDACTED. Page traveled to Moscow in July 2016, during which he gave a university commencement address an honor usually reserved for well-known luminaries.

        It is in this specific sub-section of the applications that DOJ refers to Steele's reporting on Page and his alleged coordination with Russian officials. Steele's information about Page was consistent with the assessment of Russian intelligence efforts to recruit him and his connections to Russian persons of interest.

        In particular, Steele's sources reported that Page met separately while in Russia with Igor Sechin, a close associate of Vladimir Putin and executive chairman of Rosneft, Russia's state-owned oil company, and Igor Divyekin, a senior Kremlin official. Sechin allegedly discussed the prospect of future U.S.-Russia energy cooperation and "an associated move to lift Ukraine-related western sanctions against Russia." Divyekin allegedly disclosed to Page that the Kremlin possessed compromising information on Clinton ("kompromat") and noted "the possibility of its being released to Candidate No. 1's campaign." [Note: Candidate No. 1 refers to candidate Trump.] This closely tracks what other Russian contacts were informing another Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos.

        In subsequent FISA renewals, DOJ provided additional information obtained through multiple independent sources that corroborated Steele's reporting.

        REDACTED

        REDACTED

        Page's REDACTED in Moscow with REDACTED senior Russian officials REDACTED as well as meetings with Russian officials REDACTED.

This information contradicts Page's November 2, 2017 testimony to the Committee, in which he initially denied any such meetings and then was forced to admit speaking with Dvorkovich and meeting with Rosneft's Sechin-tied investor relations chief. Andrey Baranov.

        The Court-approved surveillance of Page allowed FBI to collect valuable intelligence. The FISA renewals demonstrate that the FBI collected important investigative information and leads by conducting Court-approved surveillance. For instance, REDACTED. DOJ also documented evidence that Page REDACTED, anticipated REDACTED and repeatedly contacted REDACTED in an effort to present himself as REDACTED. Page's efforts to REDACTED also contradict his sworn testimony to our Committee.

DOJ's Transparency about Christopher Steele

Far from "omitting" material facts about Steele, as the Majority claims, DOJ repeatedly informed the Court about Steele's background, credibility, and potential bias. DOJ explained in detail Steele's prior relationship with and compensation from the FBI; his credibility, reporting history, and source network; the fact of and reason for his termination as a source in late October 2016; and the likely political motivations of those who hired Steele.

        DOJ was transparent with Court about Steele's sourcing: The Committee Majority, which had earlier accused Obama Administration officials of improper "unmasking," faults DOJ for not revealing the names of specific U.S. persons and entities in the FISA application and subsequent renewals. In fact, DOJ appropriately upheld its longstanding practice of protecting U.S. citizen information by purposefully not "unmasking" US. person and entity names, unless they were themselves the subject of a counterintelligence investigation. DOJ instead used generic identifiers that provided the Court with more than sufficient information to understand the political context of Steele's research. In an extensive explanation to the Court, DOJ discloses that Steele:

"was approached by an identified U.S. Person, who indicated to Source #1 [Steele] that a U.S.-based law-firm had hired the identified U.S. Person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1's ties to Russia. (The identified U.S. Person and Source #1 have a long-standing business relationship.) The identified U.S. person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. Person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1's ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate No. 1's campaign."

Contrary to the Majority's assertion that DOJ fails to mention that Steele's research was commissioned by "political actors" to "obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump's ties to Russia," DOJ in fact informed the Court accurately that Steele was hired by politically-motivated U.S. persons and entities and that his research appeared intended for use "to discredit" Trump's campaign.

        DOJ explained the reasonable basis for finding Steele credible: The applications correctly described Steele as REDACTED. The applications also reviewed Steele's multi-year history of credible reporting on Russia and other matters, including information DOJ used in criminal proceedings. Senior FBI and DOJ officials have repeatedly affirmed to the Committee the reliability and credibility of Steele's reporting, an assessment also reflected in the underlying source documents. The FBI has undertaken a rigorous process to vet allegations from Steele's reporting, including with regard to Page.

        The FBI properly notified the FISC after it terminated Steele as a source for making unauthorized disclosures to the media. The Majority cites no evidence that the FBI, prior to its initial October 21, 2016, application, actually knew or should have known of any allegedly inappropriate media contacts by Steele. Nor do they cite evidence that Steele disclosed to Yahoo! details included in the FISA warrant, since the British Court filings to which they refer do not address what Steele may have said to Yahoo!.

DOJ informed the Court in its renewals that the FBI acted to terminate Steele after learning from him (after DOJ filed the first warrant application) that he had discussed his work with a media outlet in late October. The January 2018 renewal further explained to the Court that Steele told the FBI that he made his unauthorized media disclosure because of his frustration at Director Comey's public announcement shortly before the election that the FBI reopened its investigation into candidate Clinton's email use.

        DOJ never paid Steele for the "dossier": The Majority asserts that the FBI had "separately authorized payment" to Steele for his research on Trump but neglects to mention that payment was cancelled and never made. As the records and Committee testimony confirms, although the FBI initially considered compensation REDACTED, Steele ultimately never received payment from the FBI for any "dossier"-related information. DOJ accurately informed the Court that Steele had been an FBI confidential human source since REDACTED, for which he was "compensated REDACTED by the FBI" — payment for previously-shared information of value unrelated to the Russia investigation.

Additional Omissions Errors and Distortions in the Majority's Memorandum

        DOJ appropriately provided the Court with a comprehensive explanation of Russia's election interference, including evidence that Russia courted another Trump campaign adviser, Papadopoulos, and that Russian agents previewed their hack and dissemination of stolen emails. In claiming that there is "no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos," the Majority misstates the reason why DOJ specifically explained Russia's courting of Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos's interaction with Russian agents, coupled with real-time evidence of Russian election interference, provided the Court with a broader context in which to evaluate Russia's clandestine activities and Page's history and alleged contact with Russian officials. Moreover, since only Page REDACTED, no evidence of a separate conspiracy between him and Papadopoulos was required. DOJ would have been negligent in omitting vital information about Papadopoulos and Russia's concerted efforts.

        In its Court filings, DOJ made proper use of news coverage. The Majority falsely claims that the FISA materials "relied heavily" on a September 23, 2016 Yahoo! News article by Michael Isikoff and that this article "does not corroborate the Steele Dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself." In fact, DOJ referenced lsikoff's article, alongside another article the Majority fails to mention, not to provide separate corroboration for Steele's reporting, but instead to inform the Court of Page's public denial of his suspected meetings in Moscow, which Page also echoed in a September 25, 2016 letter to FBI Director Comey.

        The Majority's reference to Bruce Ohr is misleading. The Majority mischaracterizes Bruce Ohr's role, overstates the significance of his interactions with Steele, and misleads about the timeframe of Ohr's communication with the FBI. In late November 2016, Ohr informed the FBI of his prior professional relationship with Steele and information that Steele shared with him (including Steele's concern about Trump being compromised by Russia). He also described his wife's contract work with Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele separately. This occurred weeks after the election and more than a month after the Court approved the initial FISA application. The Majority describes Bruce Ohr as a senior DOJ official who "worked closely with the Deputy Attorney General, Yates and later Rosenstein," in order to imply that Ohr was somehow involved in the process, but there is no indication this is the case. Bruce Ohr is a well-respected career professional whose portfolio is drugs and organized crime, not counterintelligence. There is no evidence that he would have known about the Page FISA applications and their contents. The Majority's assertions, moreover, are irrelevant in determining the veracity of Steele's reporting. By the time Ohr debriefs with the FBI, it had already terminated Steele as a source and was independently corroborating Steele's reporting about Page's activities. Bruce Ohr took the initiative to inform the FBI of what he knew, and the Majority does him a grave disservice by suggesting he is part of some malign conspiracy.

        Finally, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page's text messages are irrelevant to the FISA application. The Majority gratuitously includes reference to Strzok and Page at the end of their memorandum, in an effort to imply that political bias infected the FBl's investigation and FISA applications. In fact, neither Strzok nor Page served as affiants on the applications, which were the product of extensive and senior DOJ and FBI review. In demonizing both career professionals, the Majority accuses them of "orchestrating leaks to the media" — a serious charge; omits inconvenient text messages, in which they critiqued a wide range of other officials and candidates from both parties; does not disclose that FBI Deputy Director McCabe testified to the Committee that he had no idea what Page and Strzok were referring to in their "insurance policy" texts; and ignores Strzok's acknowledged role in preparing a public declaration, by then Director Comey, about former Secretary Clinton's "extreme carelessness" in handling classified information, which greatly damaged Clinton's public reputation in the days just prior to the presidential election.

THE END

 

Fusion’s Wikipedia profile, drawn from the likes of the Times, the Post and even Vanity Fair, dates the adventures back to September 2015, when they were hired by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative political website backed by billionaire and hedge fund manager Paul Singer to do opposition research on Trump and other Republican presidential candidates. In spring 2016 when Trump had emerged as the probable Republican candidate, the Free Beacon stopped funding investigation into Trump.  From April 2016 through October 2016, the law firm Perkins Coie, on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee retained Fusion GPS to continue opposition research on Trump.  In June 2016, Fusion GPS retained Christopher Steele, a private British corporate intelligence investigator and former MI-6 agent, to research any Russian connections to Trump. Steele produced a 35-page series of memos from June to December 2016, which became the document known as the Donald Trump–Russia dossier.] Fusion GPS provided Marc Elias, Hillary’s lead election lawyer for Perkins Coie, with the resulting dossier and other research documents.

 “Despite not offering much in the way of new information about the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of Russian election interference and how it came to draw in former members of the Trump campaign”, opined the liberal Slate website (2/24) “the memo directly rebutted the most serious charges of the Republican memo.”

Republican HIPSIE Nunes, in an exclusive interview with Trump’s favorite Breitbart reported on February 24, said he welcomed the release of the Democrat’s memo.

“The reason we wanted it out is because it confirms exactly what we’ve said the whole time — that the FBI used dirt paid for by the Hillary campaign and the Democrat national party and didn’t disclose it to the court,” Nunes said. “In fact, they went out of their way not to disclose it to the court.”

“This is why we wanted it out, and it’s amazing that the Democrats would actually take part in trying to cover this up,” Nunes said. “It’s about a coverup.”

Two days later, however, the liberal WashPost accused Republicans of conducting a campaign of misdirection and innuendo.  “The Republicans’ central charge, embodied in the Nunes memo, was this: Federal investigators failed to fully inform judges that information in a secret surveillance warrant application against former Trump adviser Carter Page came from a biased source, a dossier containing wide-ranging allegations against Mr. Trump and his circle that former British spy Christopher Steele compiled on behalf of Democrats. The president has used these findings to argue that the Russia investigation is a politically motivated witch hunt.”

Which witch is being hunted?

Concluded the Post, flinging accusations of trumped-up (sic) charges and cherry-picked evidence: “The Democratic response memo reveals that the FBI subsequently corroborated some of the dossier’s information, though the particulars are REDACTED from the public copy. Just because many of the allegations in Mr. Steele’s dossier remain unproven does not mean the whole document is fabricated.”

 

“A conservative website with strong ties to the Republican establishment triggered the investigation into Donald Trump’s past that ultimately produced the dossier that alleged a compromised relationship between the president and the Kremlin,” noted Real Clear Politics kicking off the scrap shortly before Halloween.

The Washington Free Beacon was, said RCP, “backing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential bid at the time of the Free Beacon’s involvement. And one of Singer’s closest associates, Republican operative Dan Senor, served as Speaker Ryan’s chief adviser during the 2012 president campaign.

(Singer, a former drummer for Meat Loaf and Led Zep fanatic, is a so-called “vulture capitalist” and ally of Romney, Giuliani and the infamous Koch Brothers; his flipping of foreign debt and occasional seizures of debtors’ military vessels and even Space X satellites skates close to piracy.  It’s made him worth an estimated $3 billion; he, nonetheless, is viewed as a “moderate” Republican with a gay son and deep suspicions concerning Trump’s ideology and, prior to the election, his potential negative influence on the G.O.P.  The WFB occasionally breaks the party line… for example, outing one of Rand Paul’s staffers as the "Southern Avenger" who wore a luchador mask of the Confederate flag.

He called both Trump and Clinton “unacceptable” before the election and warned a gathering of conservative Manhattan Institute poohbahs that: “This is a difficult time… and in some respects a bleak time, in the political life of America.”

The Washington Free Beacon’s editor-in-chief, Matthew Continetti and chairman Michael Goldfarb challenged a report by the Washington Examiner that it was the original funder for the Trump dirt digging.

“The Free Beacon had no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele. Nor did we have any knowledge of the relationship between Fusion GPS and the Democratic National Committee, Perkins Coie (the DNC’s lawyers), and the Clinton campaign.

Continetti is a former editor at the neo-conservative Weekly Standard, whose founder and current editor-at-large is Never-Trumper Bill Kristol. Continetti is also Kristol’s son-in-law. RCP expressed a belief that HIPSIE would “help verify whether the Free Beacon had any involvement with Steele or his dossier,” according to Jack Langer, a spokesman for Chairman Nunes.

“The Beacon has agreed to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee to help the Committee verify this assertion,” Langer said.

If they did, such findings have disappeared into the Sea of Redaction!

 

Fusion GPS’ initialism is derived from "Global research, Political analysis, Strategic insight.  Co-founder and ex-Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson, in an interview with the House intelligence committee on November 14, admitted to doing “work” on Cruz in addition to Trump, while it was being paid by the WFB.

Subsequently, Little Marco told CNN: “As far as whether it was my campaign, it wasn’t and I’ll tell you why.  I was running for president. I was trying to win. If I had anything against Donald Trump that was relevant and credible and politically damaging, I would’ve used it. I didn’t have it.”

(Of course the dirt dug up might have been so creepy that it would have blown back on him – like golden showers in a strong wind?  In a multiple candidate race, the rallying cry…  “we’re a nation” might easily have drawn the response… “urination!”)

Fusion is perhaps unique among Washington dirt-diggers in that they will abet anybody… or body… for a price.  They have represented Mother Jones against agents of Mitt Romney, defended Planned Parenthood against the sting-videographers of the anti-abortion movement.

On the other hand, they represented Prevezon Holding, a Republic of Cyprus corporation registered in New York State as a foreign business corporation, under the Magnitsky Act for money-laundering.

The sole shareholder of Prevezon was Russian citizen Denis Katsyv, whose father is Petr Katsyv, vice president of Russia's state-run rail monopoly and "reportedly a business associate of Vladimir Yakunin, a confidant of Vladimir Putin" according to various reports as diverse as those of Forbes and Rolling Stone.  Katsyv’s Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was not licensed to practice in the US, and Katsyv hired the law firm of BakerHostetler to represent Prevezon; BakerHostetler hired Fusion GPS in early 2014 to provide research help for the litigation.

Oh, those Russians… Russians everywhere!

“It’s time to share what our company told investigators," explained Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch in an op-ed in The New York Times.  Simpson and Fritsch pointed out that "our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau [FBI] had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp."

Shortly before penning the op-ed, the Times had debunked at least one of the GOP claims against the dossier — namely, that it was put together as part of a Democratic scheme to thwart Trump. It has since been revealed that the FBI learned about potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia through Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who drunkenly discussed Russia stealing Hillary Clinton campaign emails to help elect Trump, with an Australian diplomat in London. He was drinking at an upscale London bar when he told Australia's top diplomat in Britain, Alexander Downer, that Russia had political information on Clinton.

Today, The Hill reported that Downer, Australia's High Commissioner to the UK, had helped secure $25 million in aid from the Australian government to the Clinton Foundation to combat AIDS in Asia.  Republicans are saying this fact wasn't relayed to the FBI when it opened its investigation into President Donald Trump's possible ties to Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

"The Clintons' tentacles go everywhere. So, that's why it's important," said Republican Rep. Jim Jordan.

The recent covfefe over Jared Kushner’s alleged trading of White House jobs for a half-billion in loans for the troubled (and Russian-filled) 666 Fifth Avenue tower points to another common investigatory practice… follow the money.  “Trump went bankrupt multiple times,” declares Salon blogger LC.  “No legitimate American bank would lend him money and his entire business model is based on using other people's money. Even one of the dirtiest banks on the planet, Deutchbank, wouldn't lend him money without some Russian oligarch co-signing. So, he's been laundering Russian mobster money now since the early 90's, selling real estate at inflated prices with a wink and a nod and he owes the Russians big-time. It's going to be interesting to me to see just how long people pretend not to know that.”

Concurs LK: “Of course he has been laundering money for them. As reported last year by many reputable news sources he bought a mansion, a really gaudy one, in Palm Beach Fl for around 40m then turned around and sold it to Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian oligarch, for close to 100m.”

HIPSIE’s top Democrat, Adam Schiff said in a statement late last year that Democrats had asked Republicans to subpoena Deutsche Bank, but Republicans had refused, despite "repeated requests."

The committee has only issued one subpoena to a financial institution in the year since it opened its investigation into Russia's election interference and potential collusion between Trump's campaign team and Moscow.

The subpoena was to Fusion's bank rather than to Deutsche Bank, which was fined last year over its involvement in a major Russian money-laundering scheme and has been the Trump family's bank of choice for decades

 

The controversy has drawn bipartisan and multi-sided concern among the peanut galleries of the Web.  Breitbart poster PJ called the FreeBeacon “Closely connected to so called “Conservative” BillKristol and weeklystandard were also going after the most conservative GOP in the primaries – tedcruz. Why would any actual conservative ever pick up WS or FB again? They’re globalists!”

MT disagrees.  “Cruz married and reconciled at least twice with a known globalist connected to huge reservoirs of cash . What else he is capable (of) is unknown.”

“Singer is likely more pro-Hillary then pro GOP,” posted WT.  “He could BUY Marco Rubio and so he did.”

And SD saw a deeper conspiracy.  “Cruz's globalist tendencies aside, I wonder if Fusion GPS had something to do with the tabloid stories about Cruz's family. I wouldn't be surprised if they planted the stories and blamed Trump for it in an effort to make Trump and Cruz destroy each other.”

Some Gallerians seconded the Nothingburger dismissal.  “If the Russians were tampering with the ballots, or telling lies about candidates that is one thing,” posted M. of Reader Supported News.  “But if they are revealing FACTS about a candidate, why is that bad? In fact, it seems that this investigation is largely intended to prevent scrutiny of those very facts by getting us all worked up about the Russians. I expect what Hillary and the DNC did to Bernie Sanders was of FAR greater impact on the outcome of the election than anything the Russians did. But everyone seems to have forgotten about that!”

“As to Russian's telling lies about candidates,” agreed I., “why would that be a big deal when American candidates lie about each other all the time.”

Another Breitbart Gallerian, K., stated that: “The problem with the Trump dossier isn't that someone conducted opposition research against him. The issue is that this research was probably initiated to provide an excuse for Obama to persecute Trump, using the full power of the Presidency. Obama needs to be indicted and prosecuted for abuse of power. And if Fusion was a knowing participant in this scheme, the company needs to be put out of business, its capital seized and those of its partners in the know imprisoned for many years.”

Predictably, the Salon correspondents disagree.  “Republican reaction to the credible allegations of the dossier -- to stonewall and to attack the impartiality of the Justice Department, the FBI and the Mueller investigation -- proves that today's Republican Party has morphed into a criminal enterprise at the top and a seditious religious cult at the bottom,” charges HJ.

The spectacle has degenerated into slapstick… MSNBC panelist John Heilemann actually asked two different guests on Monday whether they believe Republican Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.) is now a Russian agent.  Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Ct) stammered in his response… "I-I-I-I hope that's not the case."

 

Investors… particularly in manufacturing… could only stammer as Djonald Unchained unleashed surprise tax and tariff increases that gladdened Rust Belt steelworkers but made others (including the Dow) tremble.  Don Jones may have had cause to sweat… but it was more likely that he was freezing, given the weather.  And then, there was that claim of an Invincible Nuclear Missile that Mister Putin seems ready to throw on his American friend in the White House.  At least there are some glimmerings that more ordinary weapons may become a smidgen harder for psychopaths to possess (although the President’s cavalier “take the guns and worry about due process later” is, well, worrisome.

 

 

 

 

THE DON JONES INDEX

CHART of CATEGORIES w/VALUE ADDED to EQUAL BASELINE of 15,000

(REFLECTING… approximately… DOW JONES INDEX of June 27, 2013)

See a further explanation of categories here

 

ECONOMIC INDICES (60%)

                                                                                                                                              

DON JONES’ PERSONAL ECONOMIC INDEX (45% of TOTAL INDEX POINTS)

 

 

INCOME

 

(24%)

BASE

6/27/13

      RECKONINGS

       LAST            CHANGE

 

NEXT

DON

2/26/18

DON

3/5/18

 

               OUR SOURCE(S) and COMMENTS

 

 

 

Wages (hourly, per capita)    

9%

1350 points 

        2/12/18

+0.18%

Mar. 18

      1,472.77

 

      1,472.77

 

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/wages   22.34 nc

Median Income (yearly)

4%

600

3/5/18

+0.06%

3/12/18

        672.56

        672.96

debtclock.org/    31,673

Unempl. (BLS – in millions

4%

600

2/12/18

-2.44%

Mar. 18

      1,110.17

      1,110.17

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000     4.1 nc

   Official (DC - in millions)

2%

300

3/5/18

-0.27%

3/12/18

    518.52

519.92

http://www.usdebtclock.org/      6,606

   Unofficl. (DC - in millions) 

2%

300

3/5/18

-0.27%

3/12/18

        492.51

        493.84

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    13,064

Workforce Participation

     Number (in millions)

     Percentage (DC)

2%

300

3/5/18

 

+0.008%

+0.029%

3/12/18

    286.19

286.21

Americans in/not in workforce (mil.) 

In: 154,822 Out 95,882 Total 250,704

http://www.usdebtclock.org/  61.75%

WP Percentage (ycharts)*

1%

150

2/12/18

nc

Mar. 18

    149.37

149.37

http://ycharts.com/indicators/labor_force_participation_rate   62.70% nc

 

 

OUTGO

    (15%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Inflation (aggregate)

7%

1050

       2/19/18

+0.5%

3/12/18

975.25

975.25

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm    +0.5

 

Inflation – Food

2%

300

2/19/18

+0.2%

3/12/18

278.70

278.70

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm    +0.2

 

               - Gasoline

2%

300

2/19/18

+5.7%

3/12/18

287.60

287.60

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm    +5.7

 

               - Medical Costs

2%

300

2/19/18

+0.6%

3/12/18

264.88

264.88

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm    +0.6

 

               -  Shelter

2%

300

2/19/18

+0.2%

3/12/18

284.25

284.25

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm    +0..2

 

 

WEALTH

(6%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dow Jones Index

2%

300

        3/5/18

   -3.05%     

3/12/18

454.37

440.51

Dow – 24,538.06

Homes – Sales

             -  Valuation

1%

1%

150

150

2/26/18

Sales   -3.41%      Valu.   -2.55%

Mar. 18

196.92         219.02

196.92         219.02

http://www.realtor.org/research-and-statistics

Sales (M):  5.38 Valuations (K):  246.5

Debt (Personal)

2%

300

3/5/18

   +0.07%

3/12/18

260.13

259.76

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    57,623

 

 

AMERICAN ECONOMIC INDEX (15% of TOTAL INDEX POINTS)

 

 

 

          NATIONAL

(10%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenues (in trillions – tr.)

2%

300

        3/5/18

 +0.09%

3/12/18

384.92

385.26

debtclock.org/       3.373

 

Expenditures (in tr.)

2%

300

3/5/18

 +0.10%

3/12/18

258.50

258.25

debtclock.org/       4.092

 

National Debt (tr.)

3%

450

3/5/18

 +0.09%

3/12/18

353.88

350.86

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    20,818

 

Aggregate Debt (tr.)

3%

450

3/5/18

+0.08%

3/12/18

369.57

369.27

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    69,559

 

 

 

 

           GLOBAL

(5%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreign Debt (tr.)

2%

300

       3/5/18

+0.09%

3/12/18

306.75

306.46

http://www.usdebtclock.org/   6.361

 

Exports (in billions – bl.)

1%

150

2/12/18

+1.60% 

3/12/18

162.62

162.62

http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/highlights/congressional.html 203.4

 

Imports (bl.)

1%

150

2/12/18

-2.26%

3/12/18

129.87

129.87

http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/highlights/congressional.html 256.5

 

Trade Deficit (bl.)

1%

150

2/12/18

-4.90% 

3/12/18

94.78

94.78

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/highlights/monthly.html  53.1 nc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                 SOCIAL INDICES (40%)

                       LIBERTY and SECURITY INDEX           (15%) 

      ACTS of MAN

(9%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Peace

3%

450

        3/5/18

 -0.6%

3/12/18

428.11

425.54

U.S./North Korea talks on again, but Kim keeps arming Syrians.  Russia tests “invincible” missile that, expert say, vinces itself.  Gen. McMasters grants Trump his big, French parade for November.

 

Terrorism

2%

300

3/5/18

+0.2%

3/12/18

221.78

221.24

One Mexican ferryboat blows up, another bomb found in time.  Parkland shooting blamed on “coward” guard.  Jails filling up with dimwitted teenagers posting spurious “terroristic threats” on social media.

 

Private/Public Corruption 

2%

300

3/5/18

    +0.2%

3/12/18

304.66

304.05

Florida shooter brags and laughs over dead suspect.  Hope Hicks admits to telling “white lies” about white people, then takes the Fifth and then takes leave of her job.  Who’s the next White House Communications Director?  Alex Jones?  Honest Ben Carson orders $31,000 worth of office dining dishes while cutting aid to poor and homeless.

 

Crime

1%

150

3/5/18

  -0.3%

3/12/18

238.18

237.47

Dick’s and WalMart to stop selling guns to 18 year olds.  Florida responds to Parkland by tearing down offending building and banning… backpacks?  Drug dealer charged with murder in opiod death – Djonald Unchained calls for executing dopers.  (White doctors and pharmacists too?)  Russian immigrant poisons look-alike with cheesecake to steal her identity while other Russian spy in UK poisoned with something else.  Copycat shooters busted in Michigan and Minnesota while armored car heist flops in… you guessed it!... Florida.

 

 

      ACTS of GOD             

(6%)

(with, in some cases, a little… or lots of… help from men, and a few women)

 

 

 

Environment/Weather

3%

450

      3/5/18

    -0.7%

3/12/18

337.92

335.55

Killer storms strike East and West coasts, between them… tornadoes.  Bad weather brings snow to Rome.

 

Natural/Unnatural Disasters

3%

450

3/5/18

    +0.2%

3/12/18

353.53

352,82

California pols approve driverless cars while injuries soar from pedestrians walking into clear glass walls at Apple Hdqts.  Returning Parkland students get therapy dogs… police attack dogs might’ve been a better choice.  Unions praise Trump tariffs, but corporations warn that they will raise the cost of beer and cars and provoke retaliation… Euros already taxing Kentucky bourbon (McConnell), Milwaukee Harley Davidsons (Ryan) and Levi’s San Francisco jeans (Pelosi).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         LIFESTYLE and JUSTICE INDEX          (15%)

Science, Tech. & Education

4%

600

        3/5/18

+0.3%

3/12/18

632.54

630.64

Politicians flock to arm teachers, but one such fellow in Dalton, GA melts down and spoils the nuns with guns fun.  Amazon to market “smart” door buzzers that admit homeowners via fingerprints (and will probably lead to a lot of amputations).  West Virginia teacher strike ends with promise of 5% raises.

 

Equality (economic/social)

4%

600

3/5/18

-0.1%

3/12/18

732.33

731.60

Supremes extend DACA deadline, but ICE sweeping sanctuary cities to round up aliens.  Experts say average wage for Uber drivers is $3.37 per hour.  Jane Walker whiskey takes her place alongside Johnny while Dolce & Gabbana starts replacing runway models with drones.  Oscars so black… and female, and gay and Mexican.  (Even Lebron James stops dribbling long enough to snag one; Guillermo del Toro and “Coco” producers escape ICE crackdown.)  Weinstein Company sold to female consortium/

 

Health

4%

600

3/5/18

+0.3%

3/12/18

531.77

533.37

Japan rolls out anti-flu drugs, but they still won’t be thisaway until next year.  CDC doctor mysteriously disappears.  Other doctors say nuts prevent colon cancer.

 

Freedom and Justice                        

3%

450

3/5/18

 +0.2%

3/12/18

503.01

504.02

Trump flip-flop on assault rifles #1: “Take the guns,” (and leave the cannoli?) and calls Attorney General Sessions “Mister Magoo”.  Pedophile priest gets 60 yrs. In Texas.  L.A. rape police get only 25. 

 

                      

                       MISCELLANEOUS and TRANSIENT INDEX        (10%)

All miscellaneous incidents

 (transient and cultural)

10%

1000

        3/5/18

nc

3/12/18

1078.06

1078.06

Billy Graham gets massive funeral.  RIP for actor David Ogden Stiers (*MASH) and miler Roger Bannister.  Ryan Secrest accused of harassing… a woman?  Dozens of Boston bikers (on rice-burners) sort of terrorize motorists and then riot. Evil manager steals $100M from Lisa Marie Presley, leaving her broke.  Michelle Obama gets $65M for her memoirs.  Duluth welcomes home Olympic curlers.  PETA scolds Barbra Streisand for cloning her dog.  “Emoji Movie” wins Razzie for year’s worst movie.

 

 

The Don Jones Index for the week of January 27th through February 4th, 2018 was DOWN 22.07 points. 

The Don Jones Index is sponsored by the Coalition for a New Consensus: retired Congressman and Independent Presidential candidate Jack “Catfish” Parnell, Chairman; Brian Doohan, Administrator/Editor.  The CNC denies, emphatically, allegations that the organization, as well as any of its officers (including former Congressman Parnell, environmentalist/America-Firster Austin Tillerman and cosmetics CEO Rayna Finch) and references to Parnell’s works, “Entropy and Renaissance” and “The Coming Kill-Off” are fictitious or, at best, mere pawns in the web-serial “Black Helicopters” – and promise swift, effective legal action against parties promulgating this and/or other such slanders.

Comments, complaints, donations (especially SUPERPAC donations) always welcome at feedme@generisis.com or: speak@donjonesindex.com

BACK

 

 

ATTACHMENT ONE

 

from Washpost  - 6 Tortured Arguments Republicans Are Making About the Nunes Memo

By Aaron Blake, The Washington Post

05 February 18 

If your case is only as strong as your weakest argument, then the Nunes memo is as big a flop as its critics allege.

Whatever you think about the memo or the issues that underlie it, its most ardent proponents — including Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) himself — have spent the three days since its release making some rather strained, counterfactual and even historically inaccurate arguments.

Below are a few of them that jumped out.

1. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) to Fox News on Friday night: “I would say that this is far bigger than Russia or Donald Trump, or even the Mueller probe. This is the first time in American history that politics has weaponized the FBI.”

In Gaetz's defense, at 35 years old, he did not live through any part of J. Edgar Hoover's nearly five decades in charge of the FBI and its predecessor.

But even before Hoover, what was then called the Bureau of Investigation was founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 to assist in Roosevelt's trust-busting efforts. As the FBI's own website says today, the bureau “was not yet strong enough to withstand the sometimes corrupting influence of patronage politics on hiring, promotions, and transfers.” By the 1920s, the FBI's website recalls, it “had a growing reputation for politicized investigations. In 1923, in the midst of the Teapot Dome scandal that rocked the Harding Administration, the nation learned that Department of Justice officials had sent Bureau agents to spy on members of Congress who had opposed its policies.”

Hoover took over the bureau in 1924 on the promise to reform it. That ... didn't exactly happen. And for anybody who needs a refresher, read up on what the Church Committee found in the 1970s.

2. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes to “Fox and Friends” on Monday: “As far as we can tell, Papadopoulos never even knew who — never even had met with the president.”

There is a photo of then-Trump adviser George Papadopoulos at a March 2016 meeting with Trump. It was put out by Trump's own Twitter account. And according to a New York Times report, Trump even asked Papadopoulos questions.

Trump also told The Washington Post's editorial board in an interview that Papadopoulos was an "excellent guy."

3. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.): “Finally, there needs to be a discussion as to whether the Mueller investigation is truly needed, seeing that the main premise that launched the investigation turned out to not be credible and was both directed and funded by political opponents.”

This argument is directly contradicted by the Nunes memo itself. As The Post's Karen Tumulty and Rosalind S. Helderman detailed Friday, the memo says, “The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok.” This refers to Papadopoulos telling an Australian diplomat in London that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton — a conversation that was later reported to American authorities — and it happened three months before the FISA application to monitor Carter Page.

In other words, the memo confirms the investigation was launched months before the thing Duncan alleges was the “main premise” for its launch.

4. Nunes to Fox News on Friday: “I don't believe that somebody like Mr. Page should be a target of the FBI, especially using salacious information paid for by a political campaign like this dossier ...”

To say that the FISA application to monitor Page was faulty and didn't disclose enough is one thing; to argue that Page didn't merit being monitored is quite another.

Back in 2013, for example, the FBI interviewed Page after Russian spies had attempted to recruit him. What's more, two days after Nunes said this, Time magazine reported that Page had boasted in a 2013 letter that he had served as an informal adviser to the Kremlin.

The dossier included a number of unverified claims, including about Page, but there was plenty of other information out there that clearly made him of-interest to the FBI and U.S. intelligence. He had been on their radar for years, in fact. Nunes seems to be arguing rather strangely that Page is just a guy who was railroaded for no reason, but that ignores lots of publicly known evidence.

5. More Gaetz: “We do know what Andrew McCabe said, and he's no, you know, talking head for the Republican Party. And Andrew McCabe said, but for this dossier, there never would've been a FISA memo. ... That is a verifiable fact.”

This may be a verifiable fact, but it hasn't been verified yet — not hardly. As I wrote Saturday, McCabe's exact comments to the House Intelligence Committee in December are disputed by Democrats, and the memo didn't provide a direct quote.

There have been plenty of calls for an exact transcript of what McCabe, who was then the deputy FBI director, said to the committee. Until we see that, though, we're relying on a partisan document that for some reason opted not to quote him.

6. Nunes on “Fox and Friends”: “If Papadopoulos was such a major figure, why didn't you get a warrant on him? ... Being drunk in London and talking to other diplomats saying you didn't like Hillary Clinton, I think it's kinda scary that our intelligence agencies would take that and use that against an American citizen.”

Yet again, Nunes seems to be not just raising concerns about the FISA application, but suggesting a key player — in this case, Papadopoulos — is being railroaded.

Unfortunately, his summary of events is woefully slanted. Papadopoulos's comments didn't raise red flags with the Australian diplomat because he said he “didn't like Hillary Clinton;” they raised red flags because he claimed to have knowledge that the Russians had dirt on Clinton.

That would later be revealed to be more than just idle chatter and the ramblings of an inebriated adviser. Dirt on Clinton was also promised in exchange for Donald Trump Jr. setting up that June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, after all.

 

 

ATTACHMENT TWO

 

from The Week  - 6 major criticisms of the Nunes memo

February 2, 2018

 

On Friday, President Trump authorized the release of a controversial memo compiled by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. The so-called Nunes memo purports to show that high-ranking officials in the FBI and Department of Justice were biased against President Trump, used Democratic-funded opposition research to obtain a warrant to surveil Carter Page, a one-time member of the Trump campaign, and then tried to cover it all up. It's quite the conspiracy.

Even prior to its release, the memo was the focus of fevered debate and obsessive scrutiny — not to mention ferocious criticism. The FBI, in a rare public statement, expressed its "grave concerns" about the memo's accuracy. Democratic leaders went so far as to call on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to remove Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), whose staff wrote the memo.

 

Why are critics so worked up over the Nunes memo? Here are six of their biggest problems with the House Republicans' purported bombshell.

 

1. What the memo says: "On October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC."

What critics say: By October 2016, Carter Page was no longer even working for Trump's campaign.

"Page had left the Trump campaign at least a month before the application," Vox writes. "That's the first red flag that there's nothing here, as an FBI campaign to undermine Trump's campaign would almost certainly involve targeting someone who was actually working on it."

2. What the memo says: The "dossier" compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application."

What critics say: As my colleague Damon Linker writes, the FBI almost certainly had other sources corroborating the Steele dossier, though the Nunes memo makes no mention of them.

The FBI knew that the dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele (and apparently paid for by the Clinton campaign by way of research firm Fusion GPS) was raw intelligence. It is highly implausible (to put it mildly) that the FBI asked a FISA court to issue or renew a warrant for surveillance, let alone that the warrant was granted by that court, based solely on such intelligence without independent verification from other (probably clandestine) sources. That is most likely one reason why the FBI objects so strongly to the release of the Nunes memo — because it highlights the use of material from the Steele dossier in the FISA application without referring to additional corroborating information that was gathered elsewhere and that the FBI can't divulge without the risk of revealing where it came from. [The Week]

Also critical: Officials had Page on their radar long before the Steele dossier existed.

In 2013, "Page met with one of three Russians who were eventually charged with being undeclared officers with Russia's foreign intelligence service, known as the S.V.R.," The New York Times writes. "The FBI interviewed Mr. Page in 2013 as part of an investigation into the spy ring, but decided that he had not known the man was a spy, and the bureau never accused Mr. Page of wrongdoing."

And about that Democratic funding ...

3. What the memo says: "Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump's ties to Russia."

What critics say: The Fusion GPS dossier actually began as Republican opposition research on Trump.

The conservative Washington Free Beacon, funded by a donor of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), hired Fusion GPS to "unearth potentially damaging information about Mr. Trump" during the Republican primaries, The New York Times reports. The Free Beacon ended its work with Fusion GPS in May 2016, as it became clear Trump was the favorite for the nomination. "After Mr. Trump secured the nomination, Fusion GPS was hired on behalf of Mrs. Clinton's campaign and the DNC by their law firm, Perkins Coie, to compile research about Mr. Trump, his businesses, and associates — including possible connections with Russia," the Times adds. That is when Steele was brought on board.

4. What the memo says: "The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC."

What critics say: Top law enforcement officials did reapprove surveillance of Page. The memo implies "that these people were either incompetent, because they failed to notice the omissions [about the involvement of 'political actors'] in the application, or complicit in an effort to deceive the court," Vox writes.

While we don't know why the FISA warrant was reapproved three times, we do know that it would be "if you have new information justifying the original probable cause and the [government's] need to listen," CNN analyst Asha Rangappa tweeted. And remember, as The Washington Post, does: "Page had reportedly been on law enforcement’s radar for years due to his mingling with Russians." Would it really be surprising if the FBI had lots of good reasons to surveil him and the Nunes memo just conveniently left them out?

5. What the memo says: "The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation of conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok."

What critics say: The memo's claims about the Steele dossier sparking everything seem nonsensical in this light. The memo itself says that it was counterintelligence stemming from the activities of campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that officially led the FBI to open an investigation.

"While the dossier may have played a critical role in putting Page under surveillance in October, the document — containing some salacious claims about Trump — was not the driving force behind the FBI's scrutiny of the Trump team," Politico concludes.

6. What the memo says: "Our findings, which are detailed below, 1) raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and 2) represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process."

What critics say: In fact, these findings are never convincingly reached.