From what I've read (and please correct me if I'm wrong), Devin Nunes has created a memo that he wants to release but can't, for purposes that I do not know.

What's in the memo is extremely important, supposedly, and condemning of the FBI and surveillance methods.

I'm not entirely sure how it's related to the Mueller investigation (if it is) nor why Nunes couldn't release it himself (is it classified? I haven't seen anything to suggest it is).

I'm adding a CNN video where Adam Schiff references the memo:

Memo alleges FBI Abuses


2 Answers 2


The "Nunes Memo" is a 4-page document based on Republican congressman Devin Nunes' investigation that alleges that top FBI officials acted illegally to gain FISA warrants to conduct surveillance on the Donald Trump campaign. It is unclear what it says because it has not been released, supposedly because it reveals classified information about sources and methods that the FBI uses that might put those sources in danger or at least render them useless.

Some Republicans (not all) allege that it is "bigger than Watergate" and will bring the FBI down, resulting in prison for several top officials. Others think that is way overblown. It possibly alleges that the FBI unethically (or illegally) used a source who was also on the Hillary Clinton campaign.

What is likely (and this is just my opinion) is that the FBI got a warrant to conduct surveillance on a Trump campaign official (Paul Manafort, Carter Page, or Michael Flynn), as plenty of them were engaged in questionable business activity with high-level Russian officials, and that this led to something else being found. Ultimately, we will not know until the memos get released, which he can do himself (although it may be a bit risky to go around customary channels) or get the President to do. At the moment of writing, he has not even shown it to the Justice Department, so who knows.

It is worth pointing out that, regardless of the potential veracity of its claims, this is entirely a partisan document. It was created in the House Intelligence Committee without input or consultation with the Democratic members of the committee, so the discussion of it once released is likely to be highly partisan.

Nunes, a former Trump campaign advisor, you might remember, was the person behind the claim that Obama "wiretapped" the Trump campaign, so this is likely an extension of that.

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    I concur. If it's the smoking gun that those Republicans say it is, it would derail the entire Mueller investigation. However, since the President can declassify any document he wants, it would seem odd that he wouldn't use that power to end the Russia collusion investigation on the spot.
    – Wes Sayeed
    Jan 23, 2018 at 22:42
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    The Washington Post just put up a general overview of the anti-anti-conspiracy theories that the Nunes memo is part of: washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/01/24/…
    – rougon
    Jan 24, 2018 at 13:42
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    @WesSayeed He has had congressmen from both sides urging him to not fire Mueller, and I think he knows it would look VERY bad in the press. So, instead, he and his allies have been attacking the investigation, trying to claim it is biased, almost from day one. I think they hope that if something ever really emerges, they can gain more by attacking and stalling than outright silencing.
    – rougon
    Jan 24, 2018 at 13:44
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    As a bit of an update, the DOJ is telling the House that they should not release the memo yet. Apparently, the House Intel Committee has not even shown it to the Senate Intel Committee, much less the DOJ and FBI.
    – rougon
    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:39
  • Your wording here in the second paragraph can be a bit misleading. Since the subject of the first sentence is "Some Republicans" and the subject of the second is "Others," this I read the latter as meaning "Other Republicans." However, the linked article doesn't say any Republicans disagreed with it, but rather only that a single Democrat (Jerry Nadler) does.
    – reirab
    Jan 25, 2018 at 19:47

It is indeed classified, which means that the House Intelligence Committee will vote on the measure to release it and then, as long as the President approves, they will release it to the public. Devin Nunes is not the only person who wants this memo released as about 180 signatories of a letter to Nunes (all Republicans) also express this interest.

While at this time it is to early to speculate, unnamed congressional sources say that the memo details abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the Barack Obama administration in order to spy on the Donald Trump Campaign in the late stages of the 2016 election period (with possible speculation that this information was distributed to Trump's opposition, Hillary Clinton). However, I will stress those are sources only.

Beyond speculative reporting, I do not know the contents of the memo nor would I guess as to what they will show once shown to the public. Democrats on the Hill are trying to downplay the nature of the memo.

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    Are there any sources for it being classified? Jan 23, 2018 at 19:38
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    @Phlegon_of_Tralles: washingtonexaminer.com/… It's implied, but if it is derived from classified info, it becomes classified to the highest level of protection that the source material is classified to.
    – hszmv
    Jan 23, 2018 at 21:22
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    "it's implied" - well, that might be because that news source also wants to hype something that's not there. The Examiner has a very decided political slant and agenda, so I'd want to stick with what's openly declared and their willingness to verify, not what they want to imply. Remember, the source of this memo has an established track record of making completely phony conspiracy-mongering statements. Jan 23, 2018 at 23:25
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    We used to hear claims from conservative sources that they absolutely had video footage of Michelle Obama making radical "kill whitey" types of comments. And that, soon enough, we'd all see. Except we never did because they made it all up. Nunes made phony claims regarding wiretapping. Until someone, anyone besides Nunes actually sees what's in his memo and can validate or verify its legitimacy, it's all just innuendo. Jan 24, 2018 at 15:59
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    @Phlegon_of_Tralles: At least 65 house members have seen it and said that Nunes should release it according the article I sent you. I recall a similar article saying it could now be as high as 180. The linked article also says that those members who have read it have had to sign a waiver saying they will not disclose details BECAUSE IT IS BASED OFF OF CLASSIFIED SOURCES (and thus classified).
    – hszmv
    Jan 24, 2018 at 16:22

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