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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 NunesSunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Nunes lawsuit against CNN thrown out Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variants spread in US; Redditors shake Wall Street with Gamestop stock 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 MeadowsHow scientists saved Trump's FDA from politics Liberals howl after Democrats cave on witnesses Kinzinger calls for people with info on Trump to come forward 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 SchiffBiden holds off punishing Saudi crown prince, despite US intel Overnight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Democrats demand Saudi accountability over Khashoggi killing MORE (Calif.) called the Republican memo "another effort to distract from the Russia probe and undermine the special counsel."