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House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes. Photo by Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The memo by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes is out, but there are still some critical unanswered questions — like whether there was any actual wrong information in the application to begin electronic surveillance on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Here's what to keep in mind as you read the memo and the reactions to it.

  • The memo doesn't say there was false material in the application to begin surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. At most, it says the attempts to verify the material in the dossier by Christopher Steele were in their "infancy." The main point of the memo is that some of the material in the FISA application was produced by people with anti-Trump agendas.
  • But in federal law enforcement, you talk to people with ulterior motives. The idea that you could only put material in a FISA application that is guaranteed not to be tainted by anybody with possibly questionable motives is not an idea that has any currency in law enforcement circles.
  • The main charges of anti-Trump bias: The memo states that Steele said he "was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president," and reports that the wife of then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr worked on opposition research against Trump for Fusion GPS, the research firm that assembled the dossier.
  • The fallout of the memo: the fact that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is named in it is a big deal. Couple that with President Trump's comments about whether the memo made him more likely to fire Rosenstein: "You figure that one out."
  • It's a terrible day for Rosenstein. Many in the conservative movement — including the president — want his head. As I reported this morning, the Tea Party Patriots are already launching an ad campaign calling on him to "do his job, or resign."
  • Part of the reason this memo is generating such a broad variety of reaction is that the vast majority of Americans don't know anything about FISA or the authorities the intelligence community have to surveil Americans. Intel geeks are writing this off as underwhelming, but Americans who are uninitiated to FISA may find this troubling.
  • What the memo doesn't say (but we need to know): Whether there was any incorrect information in the FISA affidavit to justify surveillance of Carter Page, and did the FBI know it to be incorrect? Or was the information used to surveil Page all accurate even if it came from sources with anti-Trump motives?

The bottom line: What I want to know most is whether the information used to get the FISA warrant was verified before the U.S. government began surveillance of Carter Page.

Go deeper

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 5 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen co-opts Reaganomics phrase for new Davos speech

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at a speech this week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. needs to focus on increasing its productive potential, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told world leaders Friday, calling for what she terms "modern supply side economics."

Why it matters: She co-opted a phrase traditionally used by political conservatives to describe low-tax and deregulatory policies — and framed the Biden administration's initiatives as the best path forward to achieve greater national prosperity.