California Republican U.S. Representative and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes is back in the news, having now apparently produced a memo outlining his findings of alleged partisan misconduct at the FBI.
Rep. Nunes alleges in his memo, which remains classified at this time, that the Obama administration pursued surveillance of the Trump team in a manner inconsistent with legal guidelines, going after them because of some sort of personal vendetta. Rep. Nunes’ investigation comes after the president spent a considerable amount of time focused on shaky, at best, allegations that the Obama administration monitored his communications at Trump Tower, something that, if true, would seemingly indicate partisan bias on the part of the federal government’s investigative bodies.
Trump was never wiretapped — but that hasn’t stopped Rep. Nunes from pushing on with his quixotic quest to prove partisan affiliation driven wrongdoing at the nation’s intelligence agencies.
Now, he’s getting some assistance in his efforts from a striking source — Russian propaganda bots on Twitter.
The website Hamilton 68 tracks the activities of known Russian propaganda bots on Twitter, and they’ve found that over the last couple of days, the amount of attention that these accounts have paid to the “#ReleaseTheMemo” campaign has proven extraordinary.
The Release the Memo campaign to get Nunes’ document about the supposed corruption at the highest levels of the nation’s investigative and intelligence services released to the public has attracted the support of interests as prominent as Donald Trump Jr. himself.
Besides retweeting messages from various conservative influencers calling for the memo to be released, he also offered some of his own thoughts, writing:
‘The reality is that if the memo were damaging to the republicans the democrats would have leaked it by now. Why the double standard?’
The memo, although remaining classified, has been seen by numerous members of the House, with some House members joining in on the call to release the document.
Trump ally and Florida Republican Congressman Mark Gaetz, for instance, commented as follows:
‘The House must immediately make public the memo prepared by the Intelligence Committee regarding the FBI and the Department of Justice. The facts contained in this memo are jaw-dropping and demand full transparency. There is no higher priority than the release of this information to preserve our democracy.’
Rep. Gaetz is among those most fiercely on the president’s side through all of this, having called at one point recently for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to be fired.
As for the Russian accounts, as of late Friday afternoon, usage of the “#ReleaseTheMemo” hashtag had increased by 306,800 percent over the past 48 hours on the part of known Russian propaganda accounts. The hashtag has been used 3,545 times.
Communications analyst Bret Schafer told Business Insider that he “certainly can’t remember” the last time that a topic was promoted to this extreme by the accounts in question, which he monitors.
As he explained:
‘On a normal day, our top hashtag is typically used around 400 times in a 48-hour period by the network we track… In total, they’ve easily shared more than 4,500 hashtags on the topic in the past two days, and our top URL is Assange’s offer to pay for a copy of the memo. That certainly seems to be a sign of a coordinated effort by the bots and trolls.’
Julian Assange of Wikileaks has, as he mentioned, offered to pay for the document.
WikiLeaks will match reward funds up to $1m sent to this unique Bitcoin address: 3Q2KXS8WYT6dvr91bM2RjvBHqMyx9CbPMN
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 19, 2018
As for whether the memo at the center of all of this even credible, a source with knowledge of the memo described it as exhibiting “a level of irresponsible stupidity that I cannot fathom” also saying that it “purposefully misconstrues facts and leaves out important details.”
Rep. Nunes’ Democratic counterpart on his committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, described the document in similarly harsh terms, saying that it is “rife with factual inaccuracies.”
Featured Image via Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images