Well, it looks like President Donald Trump has decided not to allow the release of the Democrats’ rebuttal to the GOP’s memo regarding the use of the FISA process in the Russia collusion investigation.
Predictably, the Democrats have reacted with outrage. They argue that the president is attempting to suppress information that could damage his administration. Their allies in the news media are parroting the Democrats’ claims, implying that the Trump administration is guilty of hypocrisy.
But are the Democrats right? In a word, no. Indeed, there may be more to this story than it appears. It seems that the left might be using the rebuttal memo to attack the Trump administration.
Back For Revisions
On Friday, President Trump announced that he is blocking the release of the classified Democratic memo that rebuts the claims made in the GOP’s memo. The GOP’s document shows that the FBI used deceptive means to obtain a surveillance warrant for Carter Page, a former advisor to the president.
To explain his decision, President Trump tweeted:
“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. Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!”
According to Politico, the House of Representative can still release the memo despite the protestations of the White House. However, we do not yet know if the release of the memo will be put to the vote.
The battle over the memos is part of an overall conflict regarding the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Republicans are investigating whether or not the Russia probe is politically motivated. The Democrats are accusing the GOP of attempting to delegitimize the collusion investigation.
The GOP’s memo was partially revised by the DOJ before being sent to the president for approval. According to the FBI, and the Department of Justice, the Democrats’ memo needs similar revisions. In a joint letter, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein indicated that “a version of the document that identifies, 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.” They added, “We have further identified, in red boxes, the subset of such information for which national security or law enforcement concerns are especially significant. “
Democrats Accuse The President
True to form, the Democrats castigated the Trump administration for blocking the release of the memo. “The President’s double standard when it comes to transparency appalling,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) argued in a statement. “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?’
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) echoed Schumer’s comments. “America’s intelligence and national security are being politicized,” she said. “Why won’t the President put our country before his personal and political interests?’
The Democrats’ allies in the media joined with Schumer and Pelosi in attacking the president’s decision. The Washington Post ran a piece entitled “The White House’s broken promise on the Democratic memo.” The Huffington Post published an article with the headline, “GOP Demands Transparency With Memo Release, But Denied Democrats The Same Chance.” Last, but certainly not least, CNN put out an article entitled “Donald Trump’s incredible hypocrisy on the Democratic memo.”
So what’s really going on here?
Playing Political Games?
The left is claiming that the Trump administration is attempting to conceal information that could harm the president. But, a source who read the Democrats’ memo told Fox News that the document is “filled with sources and methods taken from the original documents.”
Fox News’ source contends that the Democrats included sensitive information to “either deny release of the memo or substantially redact it” so that they could argue that Trump is playing politics with the memos. Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) agrees. In an interview with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, he stated that Democratic lawmakers “are politically smart enough to put things in the memo” that would force the president to redact the memo or block it from being released. “Therefore, it creates this belief that there’s something being hidden from the American people,” He added.
.@TGowdySC: “I think the Democrats are politically smart enough to put things in the memo that require either the [@FBI] or @TheJusticeDept to say it needs to be [redacted]. Therefore, it creates this belief that there’s something being hidden from the American people.” #TheStorypic.twitter.com/3WGoGp7G7J
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 7, 2018
Obviously, we know we should be leery of anonymous sources. Conservatives have long criticized CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times for relying primarily on unnamed sources in their attacks on the GOP. However, it is hard to believe that the Democrats accidentally loaded their memo with sensitive information.
The GOP’s memo went through one revision from the Justice Department before it was sent to the president’s desk, which is why Trump released it. Did the Democrats allow the DOJ to recommend revisions? It doesn’t appear that they did. Otherwise, Trump would not have any justification for denying the release of the document.
What it all boils down to is this: The Democrats’ memo is going to be released, and they know it. Instead of following the same guidelines the GOP did when they submitted their memo, they have decided to create an opportunity to sneak in an attack on the president before allowing the public to see their rebuttal. In this case, it is safe to assume that Democrats are guilty of the hypocrisy of which they are accusing the White House.