The smoking gun that was supposed to end Trump's investigation nightmares turns out to be a total dud.
After hyping the release of a secret GOP report that seeks to dishonestly smear the FBI as a bombshell revelation that was "worse than Watergate," Republicans were left scrambling on Friday to explain what the big deal was after the White House signed off on the controversial report's release.
By making the dubious, four-page report public, Republicans delivered on a weeks-long marketing campaign, concocted by House Republicans and Fox News, to gin up to hysterical levels the idea that the Republican-run FBI was somehow out to get Donald Trump and that the the party's oppo research memo would both demolish the bureau and severely undercut special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
It's all been an obvious attempt to shield Trump politically, who was hoping the memo would give him the cover to further purge top justice officials.
Instead, outside of the Trump right-wing media bubble, the GOP report produced shrugs, along with plenty of mocking from commentators who belittled the idea that the hothouse Republican production had come anywhere near delivering on its fantastic promises.
This memo is a dud...
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) February 2, 2018
The memo reminds of a million different smoking gun Benghazi scoops that fell apart once the full context became known. Or even the bombshell Peter Strzok texts that fell apart like a day after they were released.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) February 2, 2018
Rather than having to aggressively debunk the memo it kind of did that by itself the report's utterly slightly nature meant the document instantly morphed into a punch line.
Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government ethics, quit last July in protest of the Trump administration's refusal to comply with basic ethical guidelines, saying, "They are committed to protecting the principle that public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gain."
On Friday, he took a much lighter tone:
I was going comment on the memo, but I fell asleep reading it. Now I'm worried they'll release the counter memo. If it's half as boring as this one, I could slip into a coma.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) February 2, 2018
Reporters are also mocking the GOP, both for releasing the memo to Fox News and other right-wing media outlets first, in the hopes of shaping a more favorable narrative, and for the utter dud the memo turned out to be:
I have no idea how the rest of NatSec and politics Twitter is reacting to the Nunes memo. I’m going to check now. But having just read it, here’s my sober assessment of what it reveals: pic.twitter.com/jzYxk303Sm
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) February 2, 2018
Late on Thursday, word began to leak out among some White House advisers who had read the report and thought the feeble contents in no way matched the wild partisan hype that had surrounded the memo.
Weeks ago, Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) said to Fox News of the memo, "You think about, is this happening in America or is this the KGB? Thats how alarming it is."
Added the always-reckless Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), I think that this will not end just with firings. I believe there are people who will go to jail."
Last week, the GOP claim that the FBI had carved out a rogue "secret society" to plot Trump's demise imploded to great comical effect.
This week, the GOP memo follows suit.