CNN legal analyst rips Nunes memo: It's 'an embarrassment to the United States Congress'

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin slammed the release of a previously classified GOP memo alleging abuse of government surveillance powers by the Justice Department, calling it "an embarrassment" after its publication on Friday.

“It is an absolute disgrace. It is an embarrassment to the United States Congress,” Toobin said on CNN’s “The Situation Room.” “It is part of an effort to discredit the investigation of the president of the United States.”

“That is its only purpose, and it doesn’t even work on this terms because it’s so shoddy in what it claims to be,” Toobin continued.


Toobin said the memo, authored by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesDemocrats' opposition research got exposed — this time, not by the Russians GOP consultant sued by Nunes asks for help paying legal costs Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data MORE (R-Calif.) and his staff and approved for release by the White House, “doesn’t pass the laugh test.”

“It’s really … chilling to think that the president of the United States is attacking the most important law enforcement investigative arm of the federal government based on this,” he said.

The memo accuses senior Department of Justice (DOJ) officials of improperly using information from the so-called Steele dossier to obtain surveillance warrants on Carter Page, a member of the Trump transition team and former Trump adviser.

The full memo can be read here.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE announced Friday he approved the release of the memo, despite objections from Democrats and top officials at the FBI and Justice Department. He called its revelations disgraceful.

“I think it’s a disgrace,” Trump said. "A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves."

The White House made no redactions to the document, despite reported requests from law enforcement officials.

Democrats on the House Intelligence panel blasted Republicans’ decision to release the memo, saying the document mischaracterizes sensitive information and fails to provide important context.

“The Republican document mischaracterizes highly sensitive classified information that few members of Congress have seen, and which Chairman Nunes himself chose not to review," the lawmakers said. "It fails to provide vital context and information contained in DOJ’s [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant] application and renewals, and ignores why and how the FBI initiated, and the Special Counsel has continued, its counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s election interference and links to the Trump campaign.”

Democrats on the committee authored their own document rebutting the Republican memo, but GOP members voted against its release earlier this week.