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History as seen through memos

Dana Milbank on

WASHINGTON -- Wouldn't it be great to be Devin Nunes?

Not only does the California Republican get to be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, but he simultaneously gets to serve President Trump by making public tidbits of classified information given to him by the White House. He is recused from the Russia investigation but still gets to use committee staff to undermine the Russia investigation.

Now, best of all, he gets to release a memo to exonerate Trump in the Russia probe by using cherry-picked information implying wrongdoing by the FBI -- while at the same time blocking declassification of a memo from committee Democrats providing context and exculpatory information that Nunes omitted. And the FBI, which under its Trump-appointed director says it has "grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy," can't defend itself because, well, the information is classified.

In essence, Nunes is free to allege whatever he wants, even if false, and nobody, by law, can contradict him.

And that has me wondering: What if our understanding of other moments in history had been similarly under the sole control of one man, operating free of context, mitigating facts and fear of contradiction?

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House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

The Hon. Devin Nunes, chairman

MEMORANDUM: Treasonous Remarks by Thomas Paine

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