‘Obstruction of justice’: Trump faces heavy criticism for breaking promise to release Dem memo
Describing the 10-page Democratic memo, Trump tweeted: “The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods (and more), would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!”
The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods (and more), would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2018
The president’s reaction comes after the White House announced Friday night that it would not be immediately releasing the Democratic memo, which was drafted as a response to a Republican memo that uses misleading information to suggest that the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign is rooted in political bias.
The news was met immediately with harsh criticism and accusations of double-standards. Trump’s decision not to release the Democratic memo been described by Senate Democrats as “evidence of obstruction of justice” and “a stunningly brazen attempt to cover up the truth.”
Refusal to release Democratic response to #NunesMemo – evidence of obstruction of justice by Donald Trump happening in real time.
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) February 10, 2018
According to a letter by White House counsel Donald McGahn, the reason for not releasing the Democrat’s memo was because it “contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages.” The memo has been sent back to the House Intelligence Committee for revisions.
While Trump claims that the Democratic memo is “very political,” the House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously on February 5 to release it. In fact, earlier on Friday Trump promised to release the memo.
“It’s gonna be released soon,” he told reporters. “We’re going to release a letter.”
The contradicting treatment of the GOP’s and the Democratic memo comes despite repeated promises by the White House to treat the two memos equally.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders assured everyone on February 6 that, “As stated many times, the administration will follow the same process and procedure with this memorandum from the minority as it did last week, when it received the memorandum from the majority.”
But the White House didn’t follow through on those words.
After ignoring urging of FBI & DOJ not to release misleading Nunes memo because it omits material facts, @POTUS now expresses concerns over sharing precisely those facts with public and seeks to send it back to the same Majority that produced the flawed Nunes memo to begin with: pic.twitter.com/qNVyS99eXs
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 10, 2018
The decision to release the Republican memo on January 29 was taken despite the FBI’s taking the unusual step of expressing “grave concerns” about the misleading nature of the memo, which it said left out key facts. The Department of Justice warned House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-VA) that releasing the memo without review by law enforcement would be “extraordinarily reckless.”
In response to Trump’s decision, Sen. Mark Warner (VA), a top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted: “The fact that the President is only interested in ‘transparency’ when he thinks it ‘totally vindicates Trump’ speaks volumes.”
In a statement, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Trump’s decision to block the release of the Democrat’s memo “is a stunningly brazen attempt to cover up the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal from the American people.”
The decision is “part of a dangerous and desperate pattern of cover-up on the part of the President,” she added. “Clearly, the President has something to hide.”