Axios Feb 2
SaveSave story

The Nunes memo has been released

Devin Nunes exits a restricted area for the House Intelligence Committee's offices
Rep. Devin Nunes exits a restricted area for the House Intelligence Committee's offices. Photo: Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call

The House Intelligence Committee has released, without redactions, the classified Nunes memo on alleged FISA abuses. The release was vehemently opposed by the intelligence community, with the FBI issuing a rare public statement to express its "grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy."

What the memo alleges:

  • The dossier authored by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele was "an essential part" of the FBI and the Justice Department's justification for conducting electronic surveillance of Carter Page. It also notes the dossier was funded by the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign.
  • Steele said he was "desperate that Donald Trump not get elected."
  • This "clear evidence of Steele's bias" wasn't reflected in any of the applications to authorize the electronic surveillance.

One more thing: The memo also says that information about Trump campaign adviser George Papadopolous "triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation" in July 2016 by Peter Strzok, one of the FBI agents who later got in trouble for texts about Trump and Clinton.

  • Twitter is abuzz with speculation — like this tweet from David French — that this fact undercuts the memo's thesis that the Russia investigation sprung mostly from the Steele dossier.

Read the memo here:

In case the embed above is down: Here's a backup link to the memo.

From the White House: Asked by reporters at the White House this morning if the memo made him more likely to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or if he still had confidence in Rosenstein, President Trump responded:

QuoteYou figure that one out.

And White House Counsel Don McGahn said in a statement, "To be clear, the Memorandum reflects the judgment of its congressional authors."

  • Worth noting: Jonathan Swan reported yesterday that there was a rising worry inside the White House that the memo's contents could be a dud.

An updating compilation of reactions:

  • The FBI Agents Association: "FBI Special Agents have not, and will not, allow partisan politics to distract us from our solemn commitment to our mission."
  • Rep. Devin Nunes: "The Committee has discovered serious violations of the public trust, and the American people have a right to know when officials in crucial institutions are abusing their authority for political purposes."
  • Rep. Adam Schiff: He called the memo "a shameful effort to discredit [the DOJ and FBI], undermine the Special Counsel's ongoing investigation, and undercut congressional probes." Schiff also noted that "sources of vital information" could "dry up" for the U.S. if they know that their identity could be compromised when "political winds arise."
  • Carter Page: "The brave and assiduous oversight by Congressional leaders in discovering this unprecedented abuse of process represents a giant, historic leap in the repair of America's democracy."
  • Former FBI Director James Comey: "That’s it? Dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the House intel committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community, damaged relationship with FISA court, and inexcusably exposed classified investigation of an American citizen. For what? DOJ & FBI must keep doing their jobs."
  • Speaker Paul Ryan: "Amid all the political rancor, we must be able to work together to ensure the FISA system works as intended and Americans' rights are properly safeguarded. I am glad that this memo helps to provide greater transparency."
  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi: "President Trump has surrendered his constitutional responsibility as Commander-in-Chief by releasing highly classified and distorted intelligence. By not protecting intelligence sources and methods, he just sent his friend Putin a bouquet.
  • Sen. Mark Warner: "Unlike almost every House member who voted in favor of this memo's release, I have actually read the underlying documents on which the memo was based. They simply do not support its conclusions."
  • Sen. John McCain: "The latest attacks on the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests — no party's, no president's, only Putin's...If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin's job for him."
  • Rep. Trey Gowdy: "I have been and remain confident in the overwhelming majority of the men and women serving at the FBI and DOJ ... I also remain 100 percent confident in Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The contents of this memo do not - in any way - discredit his investigation."

And as of 1:45 p.m. on the East Coast, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down by more than 450 points. Keep an eye on it, per CNN Money.

Go deeper:

Get more stories like this by signing up for our daily morning newsletter, Axios AM. 

Amy Harder 1 hour ago
SaveSave story
Column / Harder Line

The swamp’s tug-o-war over America’s ethanol mandate

American eagle with corn in its claws
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

A biofuels standard Congress passed more than a decade ago in the name of rural development, energy security and climate change has devolved into an arcane fight over market share that has nothing to do with those initial three goals.

Why it matters: The law — called the renewable fuel standard that requires refineries to blend biofuels into gasoline — is a textbook example of how regulations create winners, losers and unintended consequences.

Caitlin Owens 1 hour ago
SaveSave story

GOP: Fixing the tax law is nothing like fixing the ACA

Sens. John Thune, Roy Blunt and Mitch McConnell
Sens. John Thune, Roy Blunt and Mitch McConnell (Photo: Al Drago / Getty Images)

Republicans have discovered their tax law contains a mistake and are hoping Democrats will help them fix it. But if the narrative of "one party passed a giant law and now wants to change it" sounds familiar, Republicans are insisting this is different from when they wouldn't help fix the Democrats' Affordable Care Act.

Between the lines: This is a great indicator of why Congress struggles to get anything done — because now the precedent has been set for one party to refuse to fix problems with the other party's laws. And for what it's worth, some Democrats are also denying the parallel — because, of course, they say their ACA process was much more inclusive than the GOP's tax one.