Is it “Bias” to Follow the Evidence to its Natural Conclusion?

Devin Nunes (R-CA), Chair, House Intelligence Committee

Jonathan Chait gave us a terrific piece yesterday, entitled “The Backward Logic of the Nunes Memo.”  It’s not a long piece, and you should read it at this dangerous / ridiculous moment in our nation’s politics.  A few snippets will sum up the argument:

Amid all the lies Donald Trump has told about the Russia scandal, there is one underlying truth: The intelligence community truly fears him and considers him unfit for the presidency. This is not because the intelligence community is traitorous, or left wing, or (as Donald Trump Jr. sneeringly put it) wine-spritzer-drinking elites. It is because the IC had early access to a wide array of terrifying intelligence linking Trump and his orbit to Russia. People who spend their lives protecting their country from foreign threats saw in Trump a candidate who had at some level been compromised by one of them.

Trump and his allies have viewed the causality the other way around. Because the IC distrusts Trump, its investigation of Trump’s connections to Russia is therefore illegitimate. …

The stench of bad faith covers the entire effort. Trump has not even bothered to conceal his belief that the memo gives him an excuse to replace Rod Rosenstein, Robert Mueller’s supervisor, with a more pliant figure. Trump believes to his core that he is entitled to federal law enforcement run by personal loyalists, and that any investigation of him is per se evidence of disqualifying bias. Nunes’s memo places the House Republicans foursquare behind that grotesquely authoritarian belief.

Other reading on this subject: