The FISA Flap


As Gwen Stefani once sang, “this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!” Republicans forsaking national security, defending a ridiculous man who may have been a spy for Russia, ignoring further attacks by Vladimir Putin, and putting all their eggs into a memo that is a total dud, to support a president who is a liar and a dishonorable human being, is bananas.

There’s a reason I’m a liberal. Not a Democrat, a liberal. Being a liberal means I don’t have to lie, mislead, or leave out information when I discuss an issue. Conservatives can’t do that. This FISA memo is proof. If you’re a Republican then you probably stopped reading above at “bananas.”

After two weeks of hype, promotion, and hashtagging “release the memo,” Republicans have finally released THE memo. This memo is supposed to expose the FBI and Justice Department of having vendettas against Donald Trump and throwing ethics out the window to dethrone him. It’s supposed to totally wipe out the investigations looking into his collusion with Russia. It would shut up every Trump critic. It’s a get-out-of-jail-free card for Trump and everyone Mueller is investigating.

This memo is supposed to give Trump support to fire Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Anthony Wray, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It doesn’t do that. The memo does not show any corruption at the FBI or Justice Department. In fact, it doesn’t even allege any crimes were committed.

This memo was supposed to show that the FBI improperly obtained four FISA warrants against Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign who was on the FBI’s radar since 2013 for his involvement with Russia. As it turns out, Carter Page isn’t the only useful idiot for Putin. Lobbyists pay millions every year to own Congressmen. Putin got Devin Nunes for free.

Republicans in Congress and Trump defied objections from the Justice Department and FBI about releasing the memo. Those agencies said the memo wasn’t accurate or entirely factual. It would expose classified information. Republicans and Trump said hell to all that and threw national security out the window for this partisan game. They decided to vanquish their reputations and being judged in the future as the Joe McCarthy’s of the Trump era. They’re doing all this to expose the injustice and unfairness delivered on someone who may be a Russian spy, Carter Page, the Gilligan of Russian spies.

Former FBI Director James Comey, fired by Trump for not pledging his personal loyalty and ending the investigation into Michael Flynn, tweeted, “That’s it? Dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the House intel committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community, damaged relationship with FISA court, and inexcusably exposed classified investigation of an American citizen. For what? DOJ & FBI must keep doing their jobs.” For what, indeed. Comey also tweeted earlier, “not a lot of schools and streets named after Joe McCarthy.”

Republicans argued the public needs all the information, and then they voted against allowing the Democrats to release their own memo refuting this fake memo and pointing out all the facts it conveniently omits. Republicans said politics needs to be taken out of it as they leaked excerpts of it to Fox News.

In fact, Sean Hannity has been advising Donald Trump on the memo. Hannity took to the air on Friday evening and called for all charges against Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn to be dropped. Trump was caught on a hot mic after the State of the Union speech telling a fellow Republican that he had every intention to release the memo, even though he hadn’t read it yet. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the troll who wrote the memo, did not read the FISA warrants, the applications to get them, or any underlying documents. Basically, the guy wrote a book report without reading the book.

Then, the House committee sent the memo to Trump and the White House said he took several hours to read it. Several hours to read a three and a half page memo. Keep in mind that applications for a FISA warrant, which Republicans didn’t read regarding Carter Page, can be from 50 to 100 pages. This memo is a guide on defending treason for dummies.

Part of the argument of this memo is that wrongdoing can only be exposed by people loyal to Trump.  So they had a guy who was on the Trump transition team write the memo. These are the same guys who held 57 hearings on Benghazi and came up with nothing. The promises they made about then about the Benghazi hearings sound a lot like the promises they’re making today about this memo.

This memo is three and a half pages of saying the FBI improperly spied on a Russian spy. It argues that the FBI used biased information, the infamous dossier written by former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele, commissioned by Fusion GPS and paid for by the Clinton campaign. And, in the last paragraph, the memo states that the FBI’s investigation into Carter Page began with George Papadopoulos, not the dossier. They inadvertently debunked their own argument in their own memo.

Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat in a London bar that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton and would be sharing it with the Trump campaign. The Australian diplomat then told the FBI. Think about that. An Australian diplomat had more concern for the national security of the United States than anyone on the Trump campaign.  Apparently, he has more concern for it than anyone in the Republican Party or at Fox News.

The memo also clears the FBI in that it doesn’t allege any actual crimes. No laws were broken.

Republicans are arguing that FISA warrants were obtained without the judges being told that some of the sources the FBI was using were from Trump opponents. They fail to mention that four separate judges approved these warrants over time, so the dossier may not have been used for each of the warrants. They also don’t know all the information used to obtain the warrants as the Republicans haven’t read the applications. Also, there’s give and take in verbal discussions with the FISA court judges. Republicans don’t know what was included in those discussions.

As for using the dossier to obtain a warrant for surveillance on a possible spy, so what? Remember when Russia was hacking the DNC and Republicans ignored where the information came from? They said what was in the emails is what’s important, not how they were obtained. From the same department of hypocrisy comes, Republicans exposing classified information after spending years attacking Hillary Clinton’s email server as a risk of exposing classified information.

The thing is, you always use information from biased people when obtaining warrants. Unfortunately, not all snitches can be nuns and librarians. It is standard practice not to mention names of sources in these applications, though the judges were told the information from the dossier was from people opposed to Donald Trump.

Also, keep in mind that this “horrible” dossier hasn’t been debunked. A third of it has been borne out. Nothing in the entire dossier, even the pee tape thing, has been proven wrong or to be a lie.

Republicans, who argue this makes Watergate looks like stealing a Snickers bar, haven’t gained anything from this memo. Russians have though, as they now have the dates each of those FISA warrants were obtained. They can now put two and two together and figure out when the FBI was onto them, and perhaps nail their sources. They can also use information in this memo to improve their spying capabilities. The three and a half pages give more to Putin than it does to Trump.

I read a few posts by Trump supporters today, and they were outraged by what was in the memo while ignoring what the memo actually said or maybe they hadn’t actually read it. But, they all believe from this memo that Obama authorized spying on the Trump campaign. No. Obama didn’t authorize any of this. The spying was not on the Trump campaign. It was on Carter Page, who was a member of the Trump campaign. If you don’t want the FBI spying on members of your campaign team, then perhaps don’t staff it with Russian spies.

Looking at the Republican reaction and reading the actual memo leads me to believe that the pages could have been blank and the GOP would have screamed it proves corruption at the FBI.

The FISA warrants were not about Donald Trump. They were about Carter Page. For the Republicans to be right about this, then the FBI has to be wrong about pursuing a Russian spy. Which again, deflects from an important fact: The Trump campaign hired a Russian agent to work as a foreign policy adviser on their campaign. The House Intelligence Committee should write a memo explaining why everyone in the Trump campaign had connections with Russia.

There are a few hanging questions with this memo. Did Trump or the White House have input on it? When asked, Devin Nunes refused to answer. Did Republicans talk to Carter Page about this? Last August, Carter Page told Chris Hayes of MSNBC that Paul Ryan would release stuff about the warrant and clear his name. Carter Page, the idiot, was right about Paul Ryan allowing something to come out. How did Page know this?

Devin Nunes told Fox News that this is phase one, and there will be more memos. Like most sequels, the next will probably have the same impact as Sharknado 2.

One thing that has been ignored with all this attention on a sloppy memo is the fact that Donald Trump has decided not to enact sanctions against Russia. Sanctions he signed. Sanctions Congress authorized by a 419-3 vote.

Republicans have proven they’ll put party over country, and personality over country. They’ll sell out their ethics and national security for a spy like Carter Page.

Now that the Republicans have fired their best shot, the FBI, the DOJ, and the Special Counsel can proceed with their investigations. The memo showed they’re doing their jobs. If this was the GOP’s best shot to discredit our intelligence agencies, they fired a blank. They put everything they had into this dud.

Republicans have proven they should not be in control of Congress. They don’t put the safety of our nation first. They will allow Russians to infect our elections all in the name of saving Dear Leader. Sycophants aren’t to be trusted. Congress has to be taken away from them. America first, my ass.

I propose we give the Inglourious Basterds treatment with tattoos to the bastards who support Trump. That way, in the future they can’t deny they did this shit or supported it, and we can see them coming.

I want to thank everyone who has donated in the past. Your support helps me continue creating cartoons and columns with a little less stress in my life. Between competing syndicates with much larger resources, timid editors, and Trump supporters who attempt to intimidate the editors who do publish anything that criticizes their idol, it’s a challenge to make a career out of this. So your support (if you can) is appreciated. Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing (pissing off conservatives)? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through PayPal. Every $40 donation will receive a signed print (please specify which print you want or I won’t mail one). All donations will receive my eternal gratitude


  1. Also, remember that if these Republicans are so upset with the way the FISA process worked, they had an opportunity to vote to change it just a couple of weeks ago. Most, if not all of those involved in this ffiasco voted to keep it as is.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. An article in Politico yesterday (2/2/18) pointed out that the accusations in the memo made no sense if you examined the supposedly incriminating evidence using a timeline that showed the order of events. Total garbage. But I suppose that’s what happens when you decide “evidence-based” information is Fake News.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Clay,
    Your cartoon provoked a mental image of Devious Devin Nunes flying around Washington, D.C., and, as any Bird-Brain would do (because they can!), shitting on Significant D.C. Targets, such as Congress, the FBI Headquarters, the Flag, and mostly the Constitution.
    He doesn’t bother to shit on the White House because 45* has already done that big time.
    (Yeah, yeah, I know 45* has already shit big time on Congress, FBI, Flag, Constitution, and the Whole Nation and The World, but 45* is not anywhere as Big as he thinks he is, and he some help.)

    (Apologies to any @RealBirds who might be offended.)


  4. “I propose we give the Inglourious Basterds treatment with tattoos to the bastards who support Trump.”

    I love that image, Clay, but be careful what you wish for.

    Your Faithful Fanatical Readers (Myself Included) Just Might Be Expecting You To Draw All Future Cartoons With TRUMPSTICKAS Prominently Tattooed On The Foreheads Of 45* And Friends, Including Pence, 45*’s Cabinet, Other 45* Appointees, Huck, Kellyanne, McConnel, Ryan, Nunes, the Rest Of The GOP Congress, Bannon, Gorka, GOP Media, GOP Top 1%, 45*’s Deplorables, KKK, NAZIs, HypocritVangelists, etc.


  5. The depiction in the cartoon is Nunes as Icarus who flies too close to the Sun with his waxed wings. The elation over being able to actually fly comes crashing down literally when the wax on the feathered wings is melted by the sun and the feathered wings fall apart. Just like the Nunes memo. Or as the Trumpers like to say, it was a “nothing burger”.


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