Yesterday afternoon was a discouraging one for proponents of democracy. The Trump White House, for example, announced it had no intention of following a recently approved law on Russian sanctions. The deputy director of the FBI, after becoming a Donald Trump punching bag, was apparently forced from his post.
And in case that weren't quite enough, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee took their crusade to shield Donald Trump to unprecedented levels.
The House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines Monday to make public a classified memo about some of the government's most sensitive secrets, prompting Democrats to accuse the Republican majority of playing politics with national security to protect President Donald Trump. [...]
Trump has up to five days to object to the memo's release.
Since Trump has already made clear that he sees political value in the document, the outcome appears to be a foregone conclusion.
At issue is the so-called "Nunes memo." As we discussed yesterday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who's embarrassed himself more than once as a Trump toady, has prepared a document intended to discredit the investigation into the Trump/Russia scandal.
And while the report, for lack of a better word, includes classified information, it's not a secret summary of intelligence officials' findings that the congressman is trying to bring to the public. Rather, the memo was prepared by Nunes and his committee staffers as part of a partisan exercise, intended to shift attention away from the White House by pointing the finger at the Justice Department, the FBI, Fusion GPS, and intelligence professionals.
Democrats have prepared a rival document that refutes the Nunes memo, though last night, Republicans voted against its release. Democrats also proposed a classified briefing from Justice Department officials and intelligence professionals, offering committee members a chance to go point by point, scrutinizing the Nunes memo for accuracy before its release. Republican voted against that, too.
A Trump-appointed official at the Justice Department recently described the move as “extraordinarily reckless,” but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) used a different phrase last night: "Tonight, the House Republicans crossed from dangerous irresponsibility and disregard for our national security into the realm of cover up."