The #ReleaseTheMemo drama seems about to come to a head.
This memo, you’ll recall, was composed by House Intelligence Committee staff based on information provided, under subpoena and duress, by the FBI. It purports to document abuses of the FISA warrant process and to show bias against Trump by some high level FBI officials.
The Democrats, particularly Adam Schiff, and their anti-Trump fan club have been trying to block the release of the document to the public on the grounds that the whole memo is spurious and it will make Devin Nunes look really, really bad…no, wait, they are saying the document is bogus but that is will be harmful to U.S. interests to release it. It is so bogus that Schiff and Schumer have tried to claim that releasing it is a Russian plot.
The House Intelligence Committee has already voted to allow any interested member of the House to read the memo and now they seem poised to release it to the public:
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are on the verge of defying the Department of Justice and voting to release a classified memo they say will reveal misconduct by senior FBI officials involved in investigating President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Whoa, whoa. This is like saying I’m defying my neighbor’s kids when I mow the grass at 8 a.m. on Saturday. The House Intelligence Committee is part of the House of Representatives. The House is found in Article One, Section Two of the Constitution and this shows where it stands in the pecking order of US governing institutions. Department of Justice is not mentioned.
Back to the article.
POLITICO contacted or reviewed statements by the committee’s 13 Republicans, and found near-unanimous support for making public the memo, which Democrats call a misleading effort to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump’s ties to Russia.
A vote by the committee — expected as soon as Wednesday — to release the controversial document would put its fate into the hands of President Donald Trump, who has not taken a clear position on its public disclosure.
The committee’s ability to disclose classified intelligence is set out in a House rule that has never been used. It dictates that if the committee votes to publicly release the classified memo, its fate moves to the hands of Trump, who would have five days to weigh the request. Trump can approve its immediate release or, if he takes no action, the committee can release it. Should he object, the committee can forward the request to the full House, which would meet in a closed-door session for a vote on its release.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said earlier this week that Trump supports “full transparency” but stopped short of saying he’d approve any request to release the memo. She indicated that the White House is aware that if Trump allowed five days to lapse, the committee could produce the memo on its own.
Right now, one would have to say that the momentum is with the “release” supporters. If Trump tries to stop the release…and I’d look for an answer from him like “I’d really love to release it but Justice tells me there is really bad stuff in it”…I expect the House will vote as a whole to release the document.
I imagine we’ve seen the broad outlines of what it holds. It is going to show that the FBI and Justice used the Trump dossier, which they knew was the product of Democrat opposition research, as part of their application for FISA warrants on Carter Page and Paul Manafort and certified that the allegations in the dossier were true. I doubt that was the sole thing, Carter Page had been under surveillance from a previous FISA warrant. I suspect there is going to be information that shows, unambiguously, that the Clinton investigation was totally fixed from day one.
Or it may be nothing. The reason I think it is something that is going to cause a ruckus is because Trey Gowdy is intimately involved and he’s also chair of the Government Oversight Committee, which is where I think this all goes next.