Apparently, classified information only matters if you’re a Democrat.
How else could you explain President Trump’s decision not to approve the public release of the memo composed by the Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee in rebuttal to Rep.Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) flawed partisan screed that he approved for release last week over the objections of the FBI because of its inclusion of classified material.
Trump instructed his White House Counsel Don McGahn to write a letter to the House Intelligence Committee transmitting his decision, according to a report in The Huffington Post.
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In it, McGahn claims that Trump is “inclined to declassify” the Democratic memo, he won’t right now because it contains “numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages.” Yeah, right. Just like the Republican memo that Trump claimed “vindicated” him of collusion and obstruction of justice that he declassified anyway.
Of course, since the Democrats memo purports to point out all of the ways that the central premise of the Republican memo is flawed by using cherry-picked details to support an unreasonable conclusion, it won’t be any more vindicating for Trump than Nunes’ memo which fell considerably short of the massive hype that the Republican’s touted.
Getting back to the question of how to rectify Trump’s decision to repress the Democratic response to a flawed assertion by the GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee with the ease with which he promulgated the Republican memo, there are several possibilities.
Firstly, because the rebuttal, written by the ranking Democrat on the Committee, Adam Schiff (D-CA), includes the details that explain why Nunes’ memo is misleading and factually faulty, it actually does include information that is classified and also part of the investigation still being conducted by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. If this is true, then the memo does need to be redacted before being published, as Nunes’ memo should have been as well.
A second possible explanation is that our credulous President really believes that the Nunes memo does absolve him of blame in the investigation and will do nothing that undermines that premise, such as releasing a memo that proves Nunes’ conclusions are false.
The third, and most likely, explanation is that Trump is continuing to obstruct justice by suppressing Schiff’s memo, desperately clinging to the fiction of innocence that he’s trying to sell the public while digging himself deeper into a morass of cover-ups and lies.
Given that Schiff has said that his document provides the missing context in the already public memo from the Republicans and that it lays out the “full facts” of the circumstances surrounding the FBI’s application for a FISA surveillance warrant on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page as he met with Russian agents, it’s not surprising that Trump doesn’t want to let it see the light of day.
What is surprising is that Trump still thinks he can get away with it without damage to him and his administration.
You can read the full text of McGahn’s letter to the House Intelligence Committee below.