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Opinion: The Nunes Memo Fail Distracted From Trump’s Open Defiance Of Congress

The so-called Nunes Memo, bombed by any measure. On a political level, it was a disaster. Even conspiracy theory fans like Trey Gowdy called it a failure in its main objective of discrediting the Mueller investigation.

Alberto Gonzales, the same Gonzales who defended the Bush torture program, condemned it.

“I have no confidence whatsoever in what’s going to come out of the House,” says George W. Bush’s former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. “Nunes seems to be part of the Trump team.”

Just to tell you how weird things are, Alan Dershowitz tried to legitimize a memo attacking FISA decisions, promoted by someone who hadn’t read the relevant documents.

That’s like writing a book review on a book you never read. It should also have been the first indicator that this “memo” would be seriously flawed – even before looking at it. The other indicators include extensive activity by Russian bots to promote its release and Sean Hannity’s advice along with his rhetoric designed to create hysteria among 45’s most dedicated followers.

Following the p.r. campaign by Trump’s propaganda apparatus, the memo was released on Friday. Most of the criticism was relentless given the obvious flaws in the memo’s content. The memo was attempting to raise a legal issue but making, for the most part, political arguments. That tactic is as good as an admission that the law and the facts are not on the Trump Republicans side.

Generally, lawyers argue the law when the facts aren’t on their side. When the law isn’t on their side, they argue the facts. When they have neither, they appeal to emotions – which is exactly the main objective behind this memo. It was nothing more than a partisan hit job seeking to discredit the Mueller investigation.

When the facts and the law are on your side, the contents of your memo look like Jerry Nadler’s response which contains a legal argument, based on facts and long-standing practice by the courts.

The memo also served a secondary objective. While our attention was on it, Donald Trump refused to enforce sanctions on Russia – and his Congressional lapdogs were silent. Can anyone imagine a Republican-controlled Congress accepting the idea that it should be subordinate to the Executive? That is the precedent that Trump set by refusing to enforce the sanctions. Combine that with what amounts to an embrace of the unitary executive doctrine (which in part asserts the president is above the law) and we see a disturbing centralization of power.

With Trump’s refusal to name Russian bad guys; he is openly defying Congress and part of the Congress is fighting for him more than facts will bear.

So here we are. A president who is breaking the law, who believes he is above the law and that Congress’ purpose is to clean up his messes and rubber stamp his decrees.

It should go without saying, that the Mueller investigation must continue and will continue, regardless of how many p.r. stunts Trump and his flying monkeys try to pull. But, we must remember that Trump’s hostile corporate takeover of Congress is also happening.

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