The #ReleaseTheMemo controversy continued to dominate on the Sunday shows. The lines are drawn between those who believe in governmental transparency and those who hate Trump…because under any other set of facts this would be a non-issue. The Trump-haters have been taking two different and equally ridiculous lines of attack. First, guys like Chuck Schumer are saying “the Russians want the memo released so the most important thing is not giving the Russians what they want.” Second, you have the constitutional illiterates who seem to think the FBI and Department of Justice have the same place in the Constitution as the House of Representatives and, therefore, the House can’t do anything without the appropriate permission. Today we saw a third variation launched. If the memo is released then Trump is obstructing justice.
A prime example of this was on Meet the Press today where a calm and collected Kevin McCarthy had to repeated use a spatula to remove a lapine Chuck Todd from the ceiling as he became more and more exercised with McCarthy’s answers.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY: I have given you no conclusion except the facts that are out there. As I said prior, I had no problems. But when these facts arise, remember, we’re separate entities here and you have an ability and a responsibility for oversight. And I think the public has a right to know. Why was somebody that was in the middle of an investigation in this one conveying within their own texts concerned about the election, concerned about what happened after the election? And that high up. I think that is a problem–
CHUCK TODD: There is–
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY: –and we should at least look at it.
CHUCK TODD: Right. And there is an investigation. It’s called the inspector general. Why is that not enough for you right now? Let the inspector general do their job at DOJ. It seems as if you guys want to supersede that investigation.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY: We weren’t the one that started this. You have differing investigations going on. And they all have their own part of going forward. We are separate but co-equal. We have a responsibility for oversight of DOJ and others. I don’t care who was president this time. But I want my government to be fair and open. And what I’m seeing raises questions. So should we look into the questions? And it’s just driven by facts. Let the facts take, take them where they may and that’s the responsibility we have.
CHUCK TODD: This memo that now the president apparently wants released which he has the power to do on his own. He can declassify anything he wants. Do you want the president to declassify this memo that was written by Republican staff on the House Intelligence Committee?
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY: Look, they have been doing their investigation. They found something out. I’ve gone down. I’ve read it. The committee voted. This is the process. They voted to allow members to read it. They have the ability to vote to move it forward just like being– and then it would go to the executive branch.
CHUCK TODD: Why are they afraid to send this to the Justice Department for review?
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY: Well, aren’t we separate but co-equal? Don’t we have a view? Don’t we have the responsibility for oversight? And the Justice Department will be able to see it because you have the executive branch and you have the legislative branch. And as the legislative branch looks at it, it will send it to the executive branch beforehand. They have the approval whether to declassify and put it forward. So they will have the opportunity–
CHUCK TODD: Do you want the president–
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY: –with the committee.
CHUCK TODD: –do you want the president to declassify this memo?
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY: Having read this memo, I think it would be appropriate that the public has full view of it.
CHUCK TODD: And you don’t believe this is somehow the president tampering with the investigation? How does this not look like that if he does.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY: Because it has nothing to do with the president right now. It is the committee doing their work who have found something, voted as a committee of the whole. And remember why the intel committee was created based upon what was happening in the executive branch from the C.I.A. and F.B.I. and others. So they have oversight of it. They made a vote for the public or for the members of Congress to look at it. Now they can vote to send it to the executive branch. And they could have say of whether to release it.
This is just ridiculous. Why anyone would think that an investigation conducted by the DOJ IG, an investigation that has been concluded and upon which a report will be issued in March, could possibly take precedence over a Congressional investigation is beyond me. Why Trump going along with the House request is an act that indicates he’s “tampering” with the investigation is also a mystery.
I think that Todd’s gambit indicates a new level of panic among the Democrats who still adhere to the collusion conspiracy theory and their fluffers in the media. The stuff Nunes’s committee is going to reveal is going to strike at the very core of how this investigation came about. It won’t destroy it but it will cause some very painful questions to be asked of the Clinton campaign which set this whole thing into motion. No one is buying the “Justice has to look at it first” story. Schumer’s “Russia likes it” story never got off the ground. Now they are floating “releasing the memo is obstruction.” We’ll see how it works.