It’s been amply established by now that Devin Nunes’ much-hyped memo detailing supposed abuses of power by the FBI and Justice Department was a big, fat dud. It’s shot through with inaccuracies and omissions, and actually proves that the investigation into Russia’s hacking of the election was based on more than just Christopher Steele’s dossier.
But Republican historian and Washington Post columnist Max Boot thinks that may not matter. As he sees it, Nunes knows that Trump is skating very close to impeachment territory–and his memo was a preemptive strike.
Boot, a charter member of the “never-Trump” club, told MSNBC’s Ari Melber that his reaction was similar to just about everyone else in the reality-based world when he read the memo. Watch here.
— TheBeat w/Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) February 3, 2018
Boot believed that Nunes was merely trying to attack Steele by saying his investigation was bankrolled by Democrats, “but they didn’t impugn his information.” He believed all the memo showed was how “shameless” Nunes and friends were when they crafted this memo.
Boot goes into more detail in his column about how shameless he believes Nunes was. He believes that Trump is “almost certain” to be impeached if the Democrats win the House and Robert Mueller’s investigation finds evidence of wrongdoing. He believes Nunes is aware of this, and crafted the memo in order to give “the thinnest of cover” to the most diehard of Trump’s diehard supporters, as well as any Senators who would vote against removing Trump from office.
How’s that possible? Well, Boot recalled that back in January, Eric Felten of The Weekly Standard saw parallels between Team Trump’s attacks on the FBI and the strategy O. J. Simpson’s defense team used in his murder trial. If you’ll recall, Johnnie Cochran and the rest of the “Dream Team” jumped on relatively minor mistakes by those handling the evidence, as well as Mark Furhman’s past racist comments, to claim that the LAPD framed Simpson.
Cochran later said that most of the jurors were well aware of the LAPD’s dubious history of racist behavior and testilying. It led Felten to wonder if “a similar pool of Senate jurors” who were aware of “the bias of bureaucrats” would look at Peter Strzok and Lisa Page’s texts attacking Trump and use it as a justification to acquit Trump “unless Mueller’s brief proved to be devastating.”
When Boot saw this, he concluded that the Nunes memo amounts to “jury nullification.” He recalled that “the mountain of evidence against Simpson”–including DNA evidence that showed there was only a one in 57 billion chance that the blood leading away from the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman belonged to somebody other than Simpson–wasn’t enough to overcome the seed Cochran planted of racist police trying to frame up a black hero. He suspects that in a similar vein, Nunes and other Trump defenders are looking for a way to overcome the “undeniable reality” that the Kremlin had a thumb on the scale for Trump, as well as the “numerous documented links” between the Trump campaign and Russia.
During the campaign, Sarah Huckabee Sanders wagged her finger at Hillary Clinton for attacking the release of the Comey letter.
When you're attacking FBI agents because you're under criminal investigation, you're losing https://t.co/SIoAxatCjp
— Sarah Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) November 3, 2016
Apparently in this case, attacking the FBI is fine if it can keep you from being evicted from the White House.
(featured image courtesy Nunes’ Facebook)