From left, FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and CIA Director John Brennan arrive at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on world wide threats on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democrat operatives nervous about Trump handing over full authority to Attorney General William Barr to declassify any information he sees fit relating to his “investigation of the investigators” may have finally found a clever way to protect themselves.
They’re starting to claim that declassifying information may endanger sources who helped save the country from Russian interference in the 2016 election.
As I said, it’s clever.
The spin to call what Comey, Brennan, Clapper and the rest were doing during 2016 — which we know was spying on the Trump campaign — nothing more than a mere investigation into how Russia was interfering in the election has begun anew as Barr is handed his extraordinary latitude to inform the public of what he finds.
The Daily Beast resurrected it on Friday, likening the potential declassification to Nixon’s enemies list and flat-out alleging that Russian interference was intended to help Trump get elected (so far there’s no proof of that. Nor is there proof in the heavy implication that Trump colluded with Russia to make that happen).
“Trump’s desire to investigate the investigators who uncovered the Russian plot to elect him president has taken on a special urgency since the release of the Mueller Report…”
Nothing subtle about that.
And the freakout is particularly fascinating because Barr hasn’t released anything yet. But hoo boy, has the shaming already begun. Barr, they say, is already lying, which is kind of hilarious when you think about it. They don’t even know what’s going to come out of any declassified information — but then, they probably do. Hence the freak out.
I’m embarrassed in advance for any reporter who treats Barr’s findings as anything but a press release from the Trump campaign.
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) May 24, 2019
It's not an "investigation." It's selective declassification by Trump's ultra-political AG in order to tell a false story, conducted at the same time that the president's private lawyers are fighting in court to suppress subpoenas to tell the true story
— David Frum (@davidfrum) May 24, 2019
The New York Times got in on the game as well, as the Washington Examiner reported Friday.
The need for secrecy was so great that CIA Director John Brennan hand-delivered information from a critical informant close to Russian President Vladimir Putin in an envelope to President Barack Obama in August 2016.
Now, one day after President Trump gave Attorney General William Barr “full and complete authority to declassify information” related to the origins of the federal investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, the New York Times reports this source is in jeopardy.
The timing of such concern for a source — which admittedly the Washington Post began writing about in 2017 — is not a little curious and is probably influenced quite a bit belief, as the Examiner notes, that “the impending declassification of Russia investigation documents will show an email exchange between Brennan and former FBI Director James Comey discussing the use of British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s unverified dossier in the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Former Rep. Trey Gowdy, who claims to have seen the classified material, said this puts Brennan in jeopardy more than it does Comey.”
Indeed, Rep. Mark Meadows, (R-NC), told the Examiner that “the timing of [the New York Times piece] on Friday is very revealing and a potential effort to burn a CIA informant as a means of protection. ‘The Brennan/Clapper/Comey and Co.’s house of cards is falling. And they know it,’ the North Carolina Republican tweeted, referring also to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.”
Democrats — if they are really concerned about protecting sources — probably have less to worry about than their obvious dismay indicates they have. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats released a statement saying he’s confident sources and national security would be protected.
But if they’re worried that illicit behavior of some of the nation’s top intelligence officials may come to light, they could have many reasons to worry, indeed.
Whatever the case, in trying to stop the transparency, nervous Democrats are being awfully transparent.