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1 Feb, 2018 16:46

Daily Beast accused of fake news in Nunes memo report

Daily Beast accused of fake news in Nunes memo report

The Daily Beast has drawn criticism after publishing a story alleging Devin Nunes refused to answer questions about working with the White House on a memo, despite a transcript of the exchange proving its claim to be false.

The article, entitled, ‘Devin Nunes Won’t Say If He Worked With White House on Anti-FBI Memo,’ contained the subhead, ‘The House intel committee GOP leader refused to answer behind closed doors if he coordinated with the president’s team on his report blasting Rosenstein, Comey, and McCabe.’

The Daily Beast cited “sources familiar with the exchange,” which told the reporters about Nunes’ alleged dodging of the question posed by Democrat Mike Quigley. The questions surrounded whether he coordinated with the White House on a memo alleging surveillance abuses at the FBI and the Justice Department targeting of the Trump campaign.

The article goes on to report Nunes “made a few comments that didn’t answer the question before finally responding, ‘I’m not answering.’”

According to the transcript of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence meeting, however, Nunes never said, “I’m not answering,” but did say, “I would just answer, as far as I know, no.”

Quigley had asked Nunes six questions about the memo at once, including, “Did they have any idea you were doing it? Did they talk to about doing this with you? Did they suggest it? Did you suggest it to them? Did you consult in deciding how to go forward with this before, during and after this point right now?”

Nunes responded saying, “I would just answer, as far as I know, no.”

“And I would also say that we are well aware that the minority has not wanted to conduct this investigation by the public opposition to the subpoenas that we issued back in August that were clearly looking into matters of FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] abuse and other matters,” he added.

Quigley followed up by asking, “Does that mean that none of the staff members that worked for the majority had any consolation, communication with the White House?”

“The chair is not going to entertain -” Nunes responded, before Quigley said, “I yield,” and Nunes asked whether any other members wished to be heard.

The Daily Bast’s article has since been updated. The headline now reads, ‘Did Devin Nunes Work With White House on Anti-FBI Memo? ‘Far as I Know, No.’’

The summary remains the same, but the paragraph detailing Nunes’ avoiding the question has been edited to add Nunes’ “as far as I know” comment, which RT has highlighted in bold.

“According to sources familiar with the exchange, Nunes made a few comments that didn’t answer the question—initially saying that “as far as I know,” he did not collaborate with the White House on the memo—before finally responding that he wouldn’t answer it.

The original article contained additional paragraphs about Nunes’ “history of surreptitiously working with the White House” to deflect enquiries about Trump and Russia. These have been replaced with more details from the Nunes Quigley exchange.

It isn’t clear whether the Daily Beast knowingly exaggerated the exchange, or if it was misled by its sources. The past year has seen a number of incidents where media outlets have been fed information from unnamed sources about the Trump-Russia investigation which turn out to be false.

The House Intelligence Committee voted Monday to release the much-hyped memo, but it needs approval from Trump before it is published. It is believed to contain allegations that the FBI abused its surveillance powers to target the Trump campaign, and was penned by Nunes’ staffers.