Since the release of the Devin Nunes memo in early February, both Democrats and the media have pushed the narrative that Republicans have become the anti-law enforcement party. But on Monday, panelists on MSNBC’s Live With Stephanie Ruhle took that argument a step further when they claimed that criticism of the FBI – and of the Florida deputies who remained outside of a Parkland school as an active shooter rampaged through halls – was itself an arrestable offence.
As the segment kicked off, former CIA officer Ned Price offered a positively glowing review of the memo recently released by House Intel Committee Minority Leader Adam Schiff. Price contended not only that Schiff’s memo was a “ten-page body blow” to the “baseless” Nunes memo, but also that the Nunes memo itself was nothing more than a smear against the FBI:
The Nunes memo was not about FISA abuse. It was not about surveillance reform. Devin Nunes has always been one of the biggest cheerleaders of FISA and surveillance. It was about discrediting the Mueller investigation. It was about tarring the good men and women of the FBI and the Department of Justice.
Fortunately, Price argued, the Schiff memo had arrived just in time to save the good reputation of the FBI. “That’s why we owe Adam Schiff a big debt of gratitude,” he gushed.
MSNBC contributor Mark Thompson concurred with Price’s assessment that the Schiff memo was “helpful” and “truthful.” But he argued that its impact was barely noticeable because the Nunes memo was “so insignificant.” He quipped, “You can’t overshadow a dud.” He later seized upon the Nunes memo’s supposed smears against the FBI and reinforced the idea of Republicans as anti-law enforcement:
The NRA and Trump are attacking local law enforcement. The White House is attacking the FBI. We’ve never seen anything like this coming from Republicans. To me, that’s seditious, which in and of itself is a high crime and misdemeanor. If I were Mueller, I would pick him up today.
Thompson’s assessment of what constitutes sedition in a legal sense is patently absurd. The media have made a habit of clutching their pearls when Trump supporters question the validity of the FBI’s FISA memo against Carter Page. But to lump them in with anyone who would dare point out local law enforcement’s admittedly weak response to the Parkland school shooting, and to then suggest that such individuals be “picked up” on sedition charges, is nothing short of authoritarian insanity.
Fortunately, Thompson does not have the power to arrest anyone.