Even pro-Trump media outlets can see through the actions of the increasingly desperate Republicans in Congress.
Fox New host Shep Smith hammered Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) Thursday for peddling a bogus memo meant to undermine the ongoing Russia investigation and provide political cover for Donald Trump, calling it a “weapon of partisan mass distraction” and shaming Republicans for not pushing back on it.
The misleading intelligence memo which is actually just a glorified note written by Nunes alleges major surveillance abuses at the hands of the FBI. Without showing any proof of such abuses, Republicans, led by Nunes and Rep. Matt Gaetz, have spent the past week whipping right-wing media and Trump supporters into a frenzy over the memo. They even started a hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo to draw attention to the stunt.
At the heart of the conspiracy is the claim that Nunes is in possession of explosive information that he wants to release publicly, but is being blocked by Democrats from doing so.
However, as Smith pointed out Thursday afternoon, it is none other than Nunes himself who will not release the memo even to members of the Trump administration.
“The Trump Justice Department wants to see the memo,” Smith said. “He won’t let them.”
Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, won’t even show the memo to fellow Republican Richard Burr, who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee. When Burr requested to see it, Nunes denied him access.
Furthermore, Smith noted, “Many who’ve seen the memo say it’s misleading, distracting, and lacking context.” He also made note of the fact that assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, a Republican appointed by Trump, wrote a letter to Nunes Wednesday warning that publicly releasing the memo without sufficient oversight would be extraordinarily reckless.
But that hasn’t stopped Nunes from making the rounds on right-wing media outlets and launching salacious accusations of wrongdoing at the FBI a charade designed to give Trump supporters something to look at while special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation engulfs the White House.
“A memo can be a weapon of partisan mass distraction, especially at a pivotal moment in American history, when it behooves the man in charge for his supporters to believe that the institutions can’t be trusted, investigators are corrupt, and the news media are liars,” Smith said.
Fox’s Shep Smith debunks Nunes memo conspiracy theory his Fox News colleagues have been hyping: pic.twitter.com/z2qJ02utZ5
Media Matters (@mmfa) January 25, 2018
As Smith noted, this isn’t the first time Nunes has pulled such a stunt.
Last year, Nunes “made White House surveillance claims, staged a rush to the White House to purportedly share surveillance information with the administration, but actually took information from the administration and staged a report of it,” Smith said. At its core, it was PR. And it was bogus.
That incident forced Nunes to recuse himself from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference and potential coordination with the Trump campaign, but clearly it didn’t make Nunes think twice before pulling a similar stunt. And this one is just as bogus as the last.