you’ve caught even a few minutes of cable news in the past week, you’ve probably heard about the “Nunes memo” and the controversy it has stirred. The document, which was released Friday, has created a massive fissure between Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, and even pitted President Trump against his own FBI director, who has publicly expressed concerns about the memo being made public.
But what exactly is the Nunes memo, and how did it come to roil Washington so intensely? Here are the answers to basic questions you might have about the document and how it came to be.
The Nunes memo is a four-page document, created by the staff of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), that alleges the FBI abused its surveillance authority, particularly when it sought a secret court order to monitor a former Trump campaign adviser. It is the work product of Nunes’s months-long effort to investigate the FBI and Justice Department and their ongoing probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia.
Why has this become such a big issue?
This is a big deal because it could have real implications for the Justice Department and the Russia investigation. Trump is said to believe the memo could help him convince people the FBI and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III are biased against him. It’s possible, even likely, he will use it in an effort to discredit that probe.