Trump Balks At Releasing Dem Response To Nunes Nothing Burger (VIDEO/TWEETS)

Trump being sworn in (image courtesy White House Facebook)
Trump being sworn in (image courtesy White House Facebook)

When House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes drafted his now-infamous memo accusing the FBI and Justice Department of rampant abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the Democrats on the committee wrote a rebuttal challenging Nunes’ conclusions. However, when the committee voted along party lines to release Nunes’ memo, it also voted down an effort to release the Democratic memo at the same time.

Within hours of the White House formally declassifying the memo, it was obvious that it was a nothing burger. The memo did not even begin to do what Nunes and other Donald Trump diehards claimed it would do–prove that the investigation into Russia’s effort to hack the election was a Democratic/”deep state” hatchet job based on a dossier paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. If anything, the memo actually proved that the investigation existed long before we knew about Christopher Steele’s “golden showers” dossier.

Under the circumstances, within hours of the Nunes memo being released, the Republican House leadership was all but forced to endorse releasing the rebuttal memo drafted by the Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, and his team. On Monday, the committee voted unanimously to release the rebuttal memo–a document that Schiff and other Democrats contended would prove that the Nunes memo was baseless.

But on Friday night, Trump decided against declassifying the memo–at least for now. Watch how this broke on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” here.

CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta told Burnett that White House counsel Don McGahn sent a letter to the committee saying that the Democratic rebuttal contained “numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages,” it could not be declassified in its current form. However, McGahn said, Trump was willing to make Justice Department staff available to help revise the memo so it could be released.

Read the letter McGahn sent to the committee here.

Trump, through McGahn, said that the Justice Department had flagged a number of statements in the Schiff memo that raise national security concerns. Those concerns were expressed in attached letters from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

On Saturday morning, Trump took to Twitter to accuse the Democrats of sending a memo that they knew couldn’t be released in its original form.

But wait a minute. Trump released the Nunes memo despite FBI concerns that the memo was inaccurate and incomplete, and has spent the last week savaging the FBI and Justice Department. In light of this, Trump’s sudden concern for the views of the FBI and the Justice Department seems curious at best. A number of journalists couldn’t understand this logic leap.

At the time this story broke, Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, a Democratic member of the Intelligence Committee, was waiting to be interviewed by Burnett. When he heard this news, Swalwell thought that on the face of it, it was another case of “obstructive behavior” from Trump. Swalwell was more than willing to hear what the Justice Department had to say. However, if the requested edits are “just political edits,” he wants Nunes to keep his word and release the memo to the public.

Fellow California Democrat Ted Lieu, one of Trump’s loudest tormentors on Twitter, was equally unsparing.

At least some Republicans aren’t buying Trump’s line either, like Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan.

Former Congressman Joe Walsh, now a conservative talk show host, savaged Trump’s decision to sit on the Schiff memo, as well as the hypocrisy of Trump supporters who were clamoring for the Nunes memo to be released.

Walsh believes the Nunes memo was an act of partisan hackery. Even if Trump is telling the truth about his supposed concerns in the Schiff memo, it’s going to be awfully hard to interpret the Nunes memo as anything other than a political stunt now.

The mere fact that we even have to wonder if Trump really is telling the truth says a lot–and it isn’t good.

(featured image courtesy White House Facebook)

Darrell is a 30-something graduate of the University of North Carolina who considers himself a journalist of the old school. An attempt to turn him into a member of the religious right in college only succeeded in turning him into the religious right's worst nightmare--a charismatic Christian who is an unapologetic liberal. His desire to stand up for those who have been scared into silence only increased when he survived an abusive three-year marriage. You may know him on Daily Kos as Christian Dem in NC. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to buy Darrell a Mello Yello.