Ostensibly conservative NeverTrump news media figures scorned Friday’s release of a declassified House Intelligence Committee memo detailing alleged abuse by senior FBI and Justice Department officials.
The memo claims that in obtaining warrants to spy on an associate of Donald Trump under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the FBI relied on the “Steele dossier” — an unverified document put together by opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
It further alleges the FBI hid the political origins of the dossier from the FISA court, and exaggerated its accuracy, though it was aware that the source, Christopher Steele, had political and financial motives.
Fusion GPS’s initial research on Donald Trump was funded, via the Washington Free Beacon, by billionaire Paul Singer, “a major funder of the #neverTrump campaign.”
So it is perhaps no surprise that the members of NeverTrump defended the dossier and attacked Friday’s memo.
MSNBC’s Rick Wilson, who markets himself as a “GOP Media Guy” on his Twitter profile, derided supporters of President Donald Trump as “mouthbreathers” while dismissing the memo’s revelations as unimportant.
The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin — who presents herself as belonging to the right — described the memo as a “nothingburger,” linking to a Friday-published op-ed of hers in which she advances the narrative of “Russian meddling in the 2016 election” as axiomatic.
“There is no proof anything in the dossier was in fact false,” wrote Rubin, advancing an absence-of-evidence claim with respect to allegations against Trump within the “Christopher Steele dossier.”
“If Trump is not a Russian agent, he surely is acting as effectively as one,” concluded Rubin.
Newly-minted Washington Post columnist Max Boot joined his colleague Rubin in shifting the burden of proof for determining the veracity of allegations within the “Christopher Steele dossier.”
According to Boot, Trump must disprove allegations made against him by Christopher Steele.
The New York Times‘ Bret Stephens described the memo as a “nothingburger” while linking to an article omitting all details of the memo’s allegations.
Evidence exists of Carter Page’s “collaboration with Russian [intelligence],” claimed Evan McMullin, a former presidential candidate and key NeverTrump figure. He further described Fusion GPS founder Christopher Steele as a “trusted source and ally of the United States.”
The Weekly Standard‘s editor-in-chief Stephen Hayes acknowledged “evidence of law enforcement bias [and] sloppiness” while framing Robert Mueller’s ostensible investigation as a legitimate and good faith endeavor in response to malevolent Russian state influence.
Former ethics lawyer for George W. Bush Richard Painter – a new regular across MSNBC and CNN – cast Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) as resembling a “Putin stooge,” adding that the “Cruz/Clinton funded dossier is probably true.”
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough described Trump as waging a “war on justice while invoking Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal.
CNN’s Ana Navarro described the memo as a “partisan attack on law enforcement” by Nunes, Trump, and the broader Republican Party.
All of the above-featured news media personalities are marketed as conservatives across platforms they contribute to.