MLordandGod / YouTube BREAKING Immediate Release of FISA MEMO...
MLordandGod / YouTube

 

Eventually, the nation will probably get to see a redacted version of the 10-page Democratic classified memo rebutting Republican claims in the 4-page memo produced by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes in which he wrote that the FBI committed serious abuses of its authority as it sought evidence regarding Russian meddling in the 2016 election. In fact, there’s a good possibility it could be released next week.

Pr*sident Donald Trump eagerly released the Nunes memo a week ago Friday. Democrats called it “profoundly misleading.” Many Republicans, on the other hand, took it at face value, seeing it as a chance to go after the FBI as a partisan agency with an anti-Trump bias.

For now, thanks to Trump’s decision this Friday not to release the Democratic memo without changes allegedly related to sensitive intelligence matters, we only get to see his hypocrisy and that of the Republicans. I know, I know, the supply of GOP hypocrisy reached the saturation point long, long ago, and mere mention of it these days is almost criminally redundant. And yet its excremental flow continues, unabated.

In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said:

“The President’s double standard when it comes to transparency is appalling. The rationale for releasing the Nunes memo, transparency, vanishes when it could show information that’s harmful to him. Millions of Americans are asking one simple question: what is he hiding?”

Indeed. Schumer could have substituted or added another word: cover-up. That’s the stink whose aroma has been growing for months.

The Republicans could easily have avoided the criticisms they’re getting for this particular edition of their hypocrisy. Both the Nunes memo and the Democratic rebuttal memo produced by Democrat Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, could have been released simultaneously to let the nation’s press and people examine them side-by-side. But that would have demonstrated clearly just how much Nunes is willing to twist things—mostly but not exclusively by omitting facts and nuance—to favor the interests of the squatter now occupying 1600 Pennsylvania. The squatter who has repeatedly labeled the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller III into Russian meddling and possible collusion by himself and his minions as a “witch-hunt.”

But instead, House Republicans voted nearly two weeks ago to release the Nunes memo but not the Democratic memo. All the better to get their fabricated version of what the FBI did to the public and their propaganda outlets with only hints about what’s in the countervailing memo.

Reluctantly, after a storm of criticism, last Monday all the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee joined all the Democrats in voting to release the Schiff memo. And, for a little while Friday, amid another day of wild gyrations on the stock market, it appeared Trump was actually going to release it. But in the early evening, the announcement was made. No release until the Department of Justice offers its judgments about what should be removed from the memo before the public sees it.

In a letter about the decision sent to Chairman Nunes, Donald McGahn II, the White House counsel wrote:

Although the President is inclined to declassify the February 5th Memorandum, because the Memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time. However, given the public interest in transparency in these unprecedented circumstances, the President has directed that Justice Department personnel be available to give technical assistance to the Committee, should the Committee wish to revise the February 5th Memorandum to mitigate the risks identified by the Department. The President encourages the Committee to undertake these efforts; The Executive Branch stands ready to review any subsequent draft of the February 5th Memorandum for declassification at the earliest opportunity.

Several Democrats expressed skepticism. House Intelligence Committee member Eric Swalwell told MSNBC: “It looks obstructive, but I’m willing to give the Department of Justice the benefit of the doubt and hear from them if they are going to come in on Tuesday and explain to us what their concerns are.”

Some of those concerns are apparently contained in an annotated copy of the memo that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein sent to Gahn Friday. In the cover letter, he noted:

Enclosed please find a version of the document that identities, in highlighted text, information the release of which would present such concerns in light of longstanding principles regarding the protection of intelligence sources and methods, ongoing investigations, and other similarly sensitive information. We have further identifed, in red boxes. the subset of such information for which national security or law enforcement concerns are especially significant. Our determinations have taken into account the information previously declassified by the President as communicated in a letter to HPSCI Chairman Devin Nunes dated February 2, 2018.

Rep. Schiff has all along indicated that he and other Democrats on the committee would be glad to work with the appropriate agencies to get the memo released. He did so again when he tweeted his reply to Trump’s decision late Friday: 

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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