Just what is the FBI hiding in its refusal to fork over documents for Nunes committee?
House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes is threatening another legal fight, this time over the Rosetta Stone of the Russia collusion investigation: the FBI document, (or E.C., for electronic communication) showing exactly what triggered it.
According to the Daily Wire:
On Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray that instructed them to produce unredacted copies of the documents that the FBI used as the basis to officially open up its Russia investigation.
It's significant because an FBI investigation of a presidential candidate that was begun right in the middle of a presidential campaign, apparently as an "insurance policy," as the texts of FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page suggested, is unprecedented in a democratic system. If the pretext for the probe were anything but something serious about national security, it would be an FBI abuse of power. The FBI investigation also amounted to the building material that led to the appointment of the special counsel and that office's investigation of Russian collusion, something that has frequently thrown the Trump administration into turmoil and has resulted in firings and indictments of Trump's closest aides.
Byron York of the Washington Examiner has the best take on this:
The originating document has been the subject of much controversy. After some Republicans alleged that the FBI used never-verified parts of the Trump dossier as part of its reason to begin the investigation in July 2016, some "current and former" officials leaked to the New York Times that no, it was the case of George Papadopoulos, reported to U.S. authorities by foreign intelligence agents, that prompted the FBI investigation.
Nunes is the right man to be asking for this because he has been a determined digger in getting to the bottom of what really went down as the Deep State reacted against the prospect of a Trump presidency. The famous Nunes memo earlier this year, which was confirmed by FBI officials as all true, did signal that the infamous Steele dossier, of grotesque and untrue claims about Trump cooked up by a British anti-Trump partisan, was the premise for the investigation.
If the FBI were smart, it would just hand over the document and let the chips fall where they may. If mistakes were made, mistakes were made. Already the organization has seen turnover in its leadership, with the firings of Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. They should be on safe ground to blame the past leaders and promise to do better next time.
But for some reason, even with Christopher Wray, a presumed conservative, at the helm of the organization, the people at the FBI don't want to cooperate. Is it because too many officials were involved in partisanship instead of focused on national security, and because of who will need to be fired? Is it because political operatives connected with the Democrats or the Hillary Clinton campaign were involved? Is it because the work was that sloppy? Is it because some new embarrassing detail is sure to come out, and they don't want it to? Is it stylistics – as in, they look like punks giggling in their supposedly investigative work on matters of national security? I don't know. Nunes seems to know; it's believed he's seen at least some of the documents and has reason to pry them in their entirety out, at a minimum to get the organization to end its partisanship and return to professionalism. It's pretty fourth-world, after all, when a nation's top security organization is openly busying itself with trying to overthrow a president instead of doing its job.
York points out that the bureau has slow-walked requests for documents before and will probably do it again this time. Those at the FBI have nothing to gain from this, given that Nunes is a dogged investigator determined to get to the bottom of the matter, and he will probably win. Still, they play their power games and force him as well as themselves to waste time and energy wresting the document from them. All they are doing is drawing more public attention to the matter. What are they hiding?