How Devin Nunes suckered Republicans into believing Trump is the victim of Democratic conspiracy over Russia
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

According to an overview in the Washington Post, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is behind convincing skeptical Republicans that Donald Trump is the victim of a massive conspiracy by the Democrats to tie the president to Russia.


According to the Post's Aaron Blake, the so-called "Nunes memo" is more frequently being waved about by Republicans who are using it to bolster their belief that the special counsel Robert Mueller's report exonerated the president.

"Whatever legitimate questions might be asked about the process for obtaining Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants or the Justice Department’s initial inquiries in the Russia probe, it’s worth noting just how long this “coup” narrative took to build on the political right — and how much GOP leaders initially eschewed it," Blake wrote, adding, "Then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) first injected this into the public bloodstream via the so-called “Nunes memo,” which raised questions about the surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page."

As Blake notes, former FBI counsel Jim Baker shot that theory down this past week.

“There was no attempted ‘coup,’” Baker said in a speech. “There was no way in hell that I was going to allow some coup or coup attempt to take place on my watch,” before adding, that came forward because he "just became sick of all the B.S. that is said about the origins of the investigation.”

Nonetheless, Republican defenders of Trump have made the Nunes memo the centerpiece of their fight to keep Trump from being impeached.

"Some GOP leaders were clearly uncomfortable with where the Nunes memo might lead. When Trump approved its release, then-House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) urged colleagues not to overstate its details," the report states, however, "Those days are long gone. Now that the Mueller report has alleged no conspiracy with Russia (and Mueller punted on obstruction, citing DOJ policy), Republicans have largely echoed Trump’s talking points — or at least raised suggestive questions — that the surveillance of Page might have been symptomatic of an effort to take Trump down. And unlike in Sessions’s day, Attorney General William P. Barr is hearing them out."

"Today, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) has called for investigating the origins of the probe," Blake wrote, adding, "It’s a pretty predictable outcome of the Nunes memo. And it’s one that even some top Republicans predicted and clearly worried about."

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