With the Nunes memo out and the questions continuing to swirl, the stage appears set for the appointment of a second special counsel. The new counsel would be chartered with investigating the FBI and the Department of Justice in relation to everything that was alleged in the Nunes memo released last Friday. The crux of the matter is whether the FBI used the Trump dossier as a basis for a FISA warrant without disclosing the political source of the dossier.
The President’s own lawyers have approved calls for a new special counsel, as per CNBC:
President Donald Trump’s legal team backs the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate the FBI and Justice Department, a White House spokesman said Monday.
The president’s attorneys have already signed off on the notion of picking a special counsel to probe U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies’ actions during the 2016 presidential campaign, Axios reported Monday, citing White House spokesman Raj Shah.
The Justice Department would have to appoint the special prosecutor.
If a second special counsel takes shape, it would mark perhaps the most drastic move by the Trump administration to delve into accusations of wrongdoing at the FBI and Justice Department leveled by the president and conservative lawmakers. Trump has repeatedly tried to draw attention away from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin.
This would essentially create a scenario of competing special counsels, both focused on similar issues but with different investigative objectives. Other Republicans are also pushing the narrative for a second special counsel. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) made the case as well, according to Mediaite:
“I definitely think there are grounds for a second special counsel,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) told the Fox & Friends hosts. “I’m not a big fan of special counsels but I see no other remedy.”
Jordan, who has been a US Congressman for more than a decade and an elected official for over 20 years, then went on to claim that another special counsel needed to come from Middle America and not from the swamp of Washington.
“Don’t have it be someone from Washington — like [Robert] Mueller and his team, all of Washington insiders,” Jordan declared. “Have it be a judge — a retired federal judge from somewhere in the middle of to country, outside the swamp. Have them put together a team, then go do the investigation. Whatever conclusion they reach, I think there’s a much better chance the American people will accept that conclusion.”
Meanwhile, a rebuttal of sorts to the Nunes memo has been prepared by Democrats on the House Intelligence Commmittee. The new memo has already been approved for release and will be making its way through the channels this week, according to Fox5DC:
The House intelligence committee’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election spun further into charges and counter-charges among angry U.S. lawmakers and President Donald Trump as the panel voted to release a second classified memo about whether the FBI and Justice Department conspired against him.
This memo was written by Democrats on the panel who are pushing back against a GOP document, declassified by Trump last week, that criticizes the methods the FBI used to obtain a surveillance warrant on a onetime Trump campaign associate. The Democratic document attempts to counter some of the arguments and evidence put forward by the Republicans.
Competing memos and, perhaps, competing special counsels are in the works. The fact that the White House and other GOP voices have started pushing the need for another special counsel indicates a concerted effort happening behind the scenes.
I’ll leave you with this as we’re sitting days before the Democratic memo comes out, which was authored mainly by Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-CA):
Trump tweeted that Schiff is “one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington” and “must be stopped.”
Schiff quickly shot back: “Instead of tweeting false smears, the American people would appreciate it if you turned off the TV and helped solve the funding crisis, protected Dreamers or … really anything else.”
Welcome to the next few weeks of “Memogate.”