It used to be that during the week of the president’s State of the Union, Washington would stop and consider it for a while.
Welcome to the modern news cycle, however, where it barely took a day for the president’s speech (a darn good one, by the way) to be dislodged from the headlines by the Great Memo War of 2018.
The House Intelligence Committee has sent the contentious memo on alleged intelligence community malfeasance during the 2016 election to the president, courtesy of Chairman Devin Nunes, a California Republican.
According to Fox News, the Democrats are so livid that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi actually wrote a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan demanding Nunes’ removal.
“Chairman Nunes’ deliberately dishonest actions make him unfit to serve as Chairman, and he must be immediately removed from this position,” the letter wrote.
So, is the memo dishonest or is it definitive evidence of intelligence wrongdoing? There’s only one way to find out, which is to read the memo.
And, according to Fox News’ John Roberts, you’re going to be able to do that relatively soon, thanks to President Trump.
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) February 1, 2018
The memo, which was sent to the president at the beginning of the week, will be transmitted back to the committee with a letter stating that it would be declassified, Fox News noted.
This sets the stage for its release early Friday. The White House only made “technical edits” to the document at the request of the FBI, even though Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the committee, says Nunes made material changes to the document since it was first floated.
Schiff, like most Democrats, opposes releasing the document, which allegedly details how FISA surveillance was used in dubious ways against the Trump campaign.
The Daily Caller reports that the document was passed on to the president on Monday after a committee vote; rules state that a document in the public interest can be declassified after five days if there is no presidential objection.
It isn’t just the Democrats that are objecting to the release of the document, however. The FBI has also issued a warning against its release.
“As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy,” the bureau said in a rare statement on a document such as this.
Even keeping this in mind, the statement proves why the American people urgently need to see the memo. We need to know if the FBI and other agencies have been weaponized in service of political interests.
If not, then the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are going to look profoundly foolish.
If they have been, however, this could be an enormous scandal on par with anything we’ve seen in the last half-century, save Watergate. The country needs to know — and thanks to Trump, we’ll at least know a bit more of the story — hopefully in just a few short hours.
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