It’s now the Democrats’ turn to yell “#ReleaseTheMemo.”
This week, the Trump White House was called upon to publicly release a 10–page Democratic memo that rebutted the now infamous three–and–a–half–page Nunes memo. The highly misleading Nunes memo had weakly claimed to reveal FBI and Justice Department abuses against the Trump campaign, specifically targeting suspected Russian provocateur Carter Page.
But now, in a classic twist of Trumpian logic, the White House has refused to release the Democratic memo, citing concerns by the same law enforcement institutions the Nunes memo had attacked in the first place.
The memo now will be sent back to the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Trump lackey Devin Nunes, for all of this so–called “sensitive information” to be redacted.
The announcement came via a letter from White House counsel Don McGahn, who cited Justice Department concerns: “The Department has identified portions of the February 5th Memorandum the disclosure of which it believes would create especially significant concerns for the national security and law enforcement interests.”
He added: “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.”
But because Trump is so interested in transparency, McGahn added, the president has instructed Justice Department personnel to “be available to give technical assistance” to the House Intelligence Committee.
According to Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on that committee, the Democrats already had provided this memo to the FBI and the Justice Department for review before both Republican and Democratic members of the committee unanimously voted to release it, The New York Times reported.
McGahn’s response also refers to a separate letter from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray that the White House counsel claims “explains these determinations in greater detail.” Of course, McGahn didn’t release that letter to the public.
While all of this may seem like a setback for Democrats, in reality, it’s probably exactly what they wanted. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer delivered the kicker: “Millions of Americans are asking one simple question: What is he hiding?”
Jamil Jaffer, a former White House attorney for President George W. Bush, called Trump’s stonewalling on the memo “a massive strategic miscalculation.” But aside from the obvious inference that this is exactly how a guilty person acts, another simpler factor is involved: Trump is practically illiterate. Ten pages are just too much to digest.
The president essentially admitted this in a Saturday morning tweet, stating, “The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods (and more), would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency.”
Hey Donald, #ReleaseTheMemo.