When House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Devin Nunes received clearance from the White House to release a memo which detailed Department of Justice and FBI abuse of the FISA court to obtain a warrant to spy on a former member of the Trump campaign — and by extension other members of the campaign — Democrats on the committee responded with a memo of their own.
However, unlike the Nunes memo, Politico reported that the White House declined to grant clearance for release to the committee’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, due to his memo’s inclusion of “classified and especially sensitive passages,” even though President Trump was “inclined” to release it for the sake of transparency.
As predicted by many political analysts on the right, Democrats immediately cried foul and asserted that Trump didn’t want whatever was contained in the Schiff memo to be made public, as it may prove damaging to him and undermine the Nunes memo.
“President Trump’s refusal to release Intelligence Committee Democrats’ memo is a stunningly brazen attempt to cover up the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal from the American people,” stated House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, according to The Hill.
“The president’s decision to block the Democratic memo from release is part of a dangerous and desperate pattern of cover-up on the part of the President,” Pelosi added. “Clearly, the president has something to hide.”
But according to The Daily Caller, Schiff himself seemed to contradict his “boss” Pelosi and actually confirm the reason for denial put forward by Trump’s White House just days later. He admitted that his “rebuttal memo” did indeed contain classified information that could reveal secret “sources and methods” of intelligence gathering.
“We need to go through that and identify that which remains classified and would implicate sources and methods or investigative interests,” Schiff told reporters during a special breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday
The minority leader of the House Intelligence Committee noted that his fellow Democrats were working with the FBI to remove any classified materials from their 10-page memo and stated, “We hope to have this resolved soon.”
He also seemed to backtrack a bit on the staunch assertion he and other Democrats have made for more than a year regarding their certainty of evidence proving “collusion” between the government of Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
“I’ve never said there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” Schiff stated of his countless collusion claims. “Our responsibility is not determining what can be proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Our responsibility is to tell the country as much as we’ve been able to learn.”
On top of that, the California Democrat also appeared to criticize former President Barack Obama for not having done enough while in office to create a “deterrent” toward hostile foreign nations engaging in cyber attacks against the United States, as it is alleged that Russia did during the 2016 election, and pointed to the suspected North Korean hack of Sony Entertainment in 2014 as an example.
“I think the Obama administration should have done more to establish a deterrent when it had the opportunity,” Schiff said. “I was urging back when the North Koreans hacked Sony that we establish a deterrent then. I feared if we didn’t, not only would the North Koreans be back, but others would take a lesson from this that cyber-hacking and attacking is a freebie. There’s no consequence.”
Schiff continued to explain that the lack of an effective counter response to the Sony hack had only encouraged Russia to proceed with their cyber attacks in 2016, such as the alleged but still unproven hack and disbursal of Democratic National Committee documents and emails.
“In the case of Russia, I think we should have named them a lot earlier, call them out on it,” Schiff said. “It’s not enough for members of Congress to do so. We need an administration to do it. The administration did it through a written statement in October, which I don’t think was enough.”
Schiff may have some explaining to do the next time he sees Pelosi, and though he remains a thoroughly untrustworthy Democrat, it is certainly worth commending him for this brief moment of unexpected honesty in regard to the real reason why his rebuttal memo couldn’t be released to the public just yet … and it isn’t because Trump wanted to cover something up as many Democrats have implied.
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