According to White House pool reports, President Donald Trump may release a “letter” on the Democrat’s response to the House Intelligence Committee’s memo on potential abuses of the FISA court.
As the pool was being ushered out, reporters asked Trump about the release of a memo authored by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.
The president said he’d release a “letter” about the memo soon.
The Democrat response is a 10-page document that is said to rebut the House Intelligence Committee memo that details alleged abuses at the FBI and the Department of Justice in obtaining a warrant to spy on Trump associate Carter Page. Trump approved the release of that memo last week.
The Democrat response, which went through the same process as the Republican memo — the House committee voted to release and it was then sent to the president’s desk for consideration — is reported to counter the Republican findings and defend the FBI.
As late as yesterday, the White House was reported to have been leaning toward releasing the Democrat memo. News that a letter may be released in it’s stead is a departure from those reports.
According to at least one historian, the change in attitude toward the surveillance of Americans has shifted to the point that Congress and the FBI may have a difficult task in repairing their relationship in the aftermath of what many are calling “memogate”.
Historians like [David Garrow, a former professor of law and history at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law] say that in light of of this history, the Democrats’ current support for the FBI’s tactics is just as surprising as the Republicans’ sudden opposition. In an ordinary political universe, Garrow said, Democrats would be more likely to be critical of the FBI’s handling of the surveillance warrant at issue in the dueling memos. (The Nunes memo alleges that the FBI improperly concealed information about the possible political bias of the material agents used to request a warrant to wiretap “informal” Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.)
“Normally you might expect Democrats to raise some questions about long-term surveillance of a U.S. citizen who seems like a pretty minor actor in the Trump campaign,” he said. “But instead, anything that seems to be anti-Trump or damaging to Trump is being embraced without question.”
This is troubling, Garrow continued, because “we should have the same standard for whether surveillance is acceptable for any citizen, whether it’s Carter Page or Martin Luther King.” The Democrats’ willingness to abandon that standard when it’s politically convenient, he said, could amount to an abdication of their traditional role as FBI watchdogs.
No word as to a specific time that Trump might release the letter and/or the full Democrat memo.