Republicans are promoting yet another disinformation campaign to distract from the serious issues coming out of the investigation into Trump and Russia.
Donald Trump's allies in Congress are at it again.
Working in concert with a motley crew that includes Fox News, Russian troll accounts, and hoaxsters, House Republicans are once again pushing a specious document to distract from the serious issues arising from the investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.
Trump's supporters are pushing the story on social media with the hashtag "#ReleaseTheMemo." The claim is that a classified memo reveals that FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) was used to spy on a foreign policy aide to the Trump campaign. It is the latest iteration of Trump's own debunked claim that his campaign was spied on by the Obama administration.
California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said the memo is nothing more than " a profoundly misleading set of talking points drafted by Republican staff attacking the FBI and its handling of the investigation."
It is, he continued, "rife with factual inaccuracies and referencing highly classified materials that most of Republican Intelligence Committee members were forced to acknowledge they had never read," for the purpose of smearing the FBI to undermine its investigations into Trump and his team.
"It may help carry White House water," Schiff said, "but it is a deep disservice to our law enforcement professionals."
Smearing law enforcement is perfectly acceptable for the right, however, if it means propping up Trump.
The reality, as has been the case with all of the false flags that congressional Republicans and right-wing pundits have thrown up to detract from the very real and serious investigation, is that the "memo" is a partisan, Republican-created document cooked up by Trump's closest allies.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one of Trump's staunchest defenders, thundered that there is "no higher priority" than the release of the memo to "preserve our democracy." He also pushed the story on Fox, in an attempt to whip up a frenzy among the network's conservative viewers.
Other programs on the pro-Trump network marched in lockstep.
Twitter accounts put together by Russia to influence the conversation swarmed to the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag, once again linking Trump allies, Fox News, and their supporters.
Donald Trump Jr. alleged that "Democrats & deep state govt officials are doing everything they can to protect those within the government who used their positions of influence to target those they disagree with politically."
Of course, his father has wide latitude to declassify the memo, but doing so would likely expose the partisan contents of the document and deflate the entire campaign, as has happened to other conservative misinformation efforts.
The latest disinformation campaign comes the same week it was revealed that former Trump White House strategist and campaign chief Steve Bannon will be testifying in front of a grand jury in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
In the book "Fire and Fury," Bannon said that he believes the Mueller investigation will zero in on Jared Kushner and involve money laundering. As the investigation inches ever closer to Trump and his family, the efforts to delegitimize it are only growing stronger.
Once again, the right's disinformation actors are furiously trying to take the spotlight off Trump's behavior and actions, and have demonstrated that they don't care if federal law enforcement has its reputation dragged through the mud to serve their purposes.
As usual, there is more obfuscation than reality involved, and it is unlikely to deter the investigators who have made clear the Trump team is in their sights.