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Shepard Smith: Nunes's FBI memo is a weapon of ‘mass distraction’

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith rebuked Republicans in Congress and some at his own network for hyping the release of a memo reportedly detailing surveillance abuses by the U.S. government, calling the memo a "weapon of mass distraction" on his show Thursday.

In remarks Thursday afternoon, Smith dismissed the memo, compiled by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesCNN reporter's phone and email records secretly obtained by Trump administration: report Hillicon Valley: Colonial Pipeline CEO says company paid hackers .4 million in ransomware attack | Facebook sets up 'special operations center' for content on Israeli-Palestinian conflict | Granholm expresses openness to pipeline cyber standards after Peter Thiel, J.D. Vance investing in YouTube alternative popular among conservatives MORE (R-Calif.), saying it lacks real substance.

"Many who've seen the memo say it's misleading, distracting and lacking context," Smith said. "The memo itself is in the conservative discussion mix while the special counsel investigating Russian interference into our democracy is apparently about to interview the president of the United States while seeking to determine whether he's colluded with the Russians or obstructed justice."

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"A memo can be a weapon of partisan mass distraction," he added. "Especially at a pivotal moment in American democracy when it behooves the man in charge for supporters to believe the institutions can't be trusted, the investigators are corrupt and the news media are liars. Context matters."

In his monologue, Smith also targeted Nunes, who Smith noted was involved in a meeting with the Trump White House last year that resulted in his recusal from the Russia investigation.

"Remember, this began with Devin Nunes. The same Devin Nunes who last year made White House surveillance claims, staged a rush to the White House to purportedly share surveillance information with the administration, but actually took information from the administration and staged a report of it," Smith told viewers.

"At its core, it was PR, and it was bogus," he added.

Republicans have called the memo, which reportedly details Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses by the government, "shocking" and have pressed for the information to be released publicly.

“I’m here to tell all of America tonight that I’m shocked to read exactly what has taken place,” House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsBiden's no-drama White House chief Ex-Trump aide Meadows pushed DOJ to probe multiple election theories: report Trump working with Gingrich on policy agenda: report MORE (R-N.C.) said Monday. 

“I thought it could never happen in a country that loves freedom and democracy like this country. It is time that we become transparent with all of this, and I’m calling on our leadership to make this available so all Americans can judge for themselves.” 

Democrats on the Intelligence panel announced Wednesday that they've drafted their own memo to counter the GOP's claims. 

Ranking member Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says DOJ to probe Trump-era subpoenas of lawmaker records The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Sights and sounds from Biden's UK visit MORE (Calif.) called the Republican memo "another effort to distract from the Russia probe and undermine the special counsel."