Tuesday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan endorsed the release of the memo Republicans manufactured to defend Trump and Russia stooge Carter Page, of all people. Ignoring the warning from the Department of Justice that releasing the memo is reckless and a threat to national security, Republicans decided to make it public while suppressing a dissenting Democratic memo. They also refused to allow FBI director Christopher Wray to brief them on the underlying intelligence surrounding the memo before voting to release it.
In doing all of that, as Mark Sumner writes, “Republicans took an active role in attempting to interfere with the investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, and demonstrated that to protect Trump, they are more than willing to burn vital institutions to the ground.”
Ryan just lit the match.
“There may have been malfeasance by people at the FBI…it is our job in conducting transparent oversight of the executive branch to get to the bottom of that.”
That’s after Ryan supposedly cautioned his members in a closed door meeting “not to oversell the memo and to distinguish it from Mueller’s investigation.” He’s out there saying that there “may have been malfeasance” based on a memo that has been concocted entirely to distract from the Mueller investigation and to pre-emptively undermine it.
Ryan’s “caution” is his attempt at looking like he’s seriously in charge, but he did what he always does: He stepped aside for the worst excesses of the most extreme in the party, in this case his longtime friend Devin Nunes.