Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com
A week after authorizing the release of the notorious “Nunes memo,” the White House announced on Friday night that it was blocking the public release of a Democratic memo based on the same underlying intelligence as the GOP document.
The move raises a host of questions about Donald Trump’s motives for declassifying the intelligence in the Republican memo but refusing to do so for the Democratic version of the memo, despite a unanimous voteby the bipartisan House Intelligence Committee in favor of publishing the second memo.
Among those questioning Trump’s intentions is Ted Lieu (D-CA), a former Air Force JAG officer and current member of the House Judiciary Committee.
In a tweet posted just minutes after the White House announced its decision to block the Democratic memo from public view, Lieu slammed the move as “outrageous” and said he’s now “convinced [Trump] is intentionally hiding relevant information from the American people in order to mislead the public.”
“An innocent person would not block the memo,” Lieu added.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer echoed Lieu’s suspicions, noting that Trump had just undermined his own justification for releasing last week’s memo.
“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,” Schumer said in a statement. “Millions of Americans are asking one simple question: what is he hiding?”
The Democratic memo from Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, was written in response to the GOP memo, which accused the FBI of surveillance abuses against Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Schiff and his Democratic colleagues — along with top officials in the FBI and DOJ — say the Republican memo, written by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, is misleading and omits key facts. Trump, however, said this week that the failed memo “vindicated” him — a claim that even Republicans refuted nearly unanimously.
The Democratic memo is expected to deliver a detailed, point-by-point rebuttal of the claims in the GOP memo. It’s also expected to lay out the case for why the FBI had good reason to request a surveillance warrant for Page as part of its ongoing counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
The move by the Trump White House to block the release of the Democratic memo not only gives the appearance that he may be hiding something, but it also suggests that Trump only declassified the material in the GOP document to provide political cover for himself — bolstering a potential obstruction of justice case against him.