Nothing is clearer in the era of Trump than the fact that frat-boy-turned-yes-man Paul Ryan is nothing better than a middle manager who rose too high in the leadership hierarchy of a country he is now endangering.
It was bad enough that he failed to ever really challenge Trump’s moral and political fitness for office during the 2016 election, but now he is presiding over the destruction of the Constitution he has sworn to uphold and the Article I institution he has been charged with leading.
His recent failure to do anything more than tag Trump’s repugnant reference to “shithole countries” as “unfortunate” was shameless. But his continued support for allowing White House errand boy Devin Nunes to spin whatever harebrained conspiracy he can dream up to undermine the country’s national security agencies is treasonous.
When Justice Department Trump-appointee Stephen Boyd, an assistant attorney general, finally stepped in on Wednesday with a cautionary letter defending the FBI and our national security against the “reckless” Nunes, he also impugned Ryan, writes CNN.
Boyd also wrote that “wider distribution of the classified information” presumably contained in Nunes’ memo would be a “significant deviation” from the Department’s agreement with House intel and the office of House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Boyd noted that the Justice Department had turned over more than 1,000 pages of classified material to the House Intelligence committee concerning “the FBI’s relationship, if any, with a source and its reliance, if any, on information provided by that source.” Presumably Boyd meant Christopher Steele and the dossier Nunes is trying to wield as a weapon of taint against the FBI.
Boyd also pointed out to Nunes that he is leading his committee members to weigh the public release of potentially damaging classified materials that “neither you nor most of them have seen.” (Nunes actually delegated the viewing of those materials to Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) but hasn’t bothered to review them himself.)
“We do not understand why the Committee would possibly seek to disclose classified and law enforcement sensitive information without first consulting with the relevant members of the Intelligence Community,” Boyd wrote.
This is what Paul Ryan is presiding over, enabling, and empowering through his complete dereliction of duty. MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace called the threat posed by Nunes “a stain on Paul Ryan” Thursday.
“And the fact that he ever, ever was on the ticket as a vice-presidential nominee blows my mind,” she added.
As conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin writes,
In normal times, the House speaker would have stepped in to protect the reputation of the Intelligence Committee and the integrity of Congress. Ryan (R-Wis.) must decide whether his water-carrying for the president obliges him to indulge an Intelligence Committee chairman who is consumed with conspiracy mongering, who routinely gives support to ludicrous White House allegations (e.g., wiretapping in Trump Tower) and who has failed in his obligation to exercise reasonable, serious oversight and explore an assault on American democracy.
But these are not normal times and they call for people to take uncomfortable stands in the face of a tyranny that is presently threatening our country.
Paul Ryan rose to the top of a Republican party that hasn’t had a fresh idea since Ronald Reagan. It was an easy enough climb for a blue-eyed boy next door who has happily traded his integrity for his elevation in stature. And now that he is in a position to really make a difference at this critical time in history—to either rise to this political moment or capitulate—he is just as happily selling out the country that has showered more blessings on him than it ever should have.