One day after the FBI took the extraordinary action of publicly rebuking the White House and Republicans for peddling a partisan report alleging misdeeds by prosecutors targeting the White House, former CIA Director John Brennan weighed in with another dose of denunciation.
“I had many fights with Congressional Dems over the years on national security matters,” Brennan said Thursday. “But I never witnessed the type of reckless partisan behavior I am now seeing from Nunes and House Republicans. Absence of moral and ethical leadership in WH is fueling this government crisis.”
Indeed, the GOP’s careless pursuit is drawing condemnations from all quarters. Intelligence veterans in particular are blasting the Republican scheme as a dangerous maneuver that not only rips up decades of protocol, but establishes an unsafe precedent for the future where classified information is recklessly released to the public solely in the name of setting political scores.
As Brennan, who spent years briefing President Barack Obama everyday on national security matters, notes, political battles over intelligence are as old as the CIA and the FBI themselves. What’s so unusual here is the GOP’s refusal to cooperate with the intel community before releasing its secret, gotcha report that allegedly documents FBI malfeasance during the Russia investigation.
Republicans have erased all congressional process norms in terms of trying to get the dubious report released.
Seen strictly as a partisan maneuver designed to damage special counsel Robert Mueller, the botched GOP memo allegedly depicts the FBI as overstepping its bounds in terms of investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives in 2016.
On Tuesday, Trump’s appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray OK’d a release in which the bureau stressed, “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memos accuracy.”
That came one week after Trumps own Department of Justice sent out a warning signal about the GOPs smear campaign.
It would be extraordinarily reckless for the Committee to disclose such information publicly without giving the Department and the FBI the opportunity to review the memorandum, the DOJ stressed.
Meanwhile, the walls continue to crumble around the White House as the Russia and obstruction of justice scandal deepens. That means pressure is intensifying on the Republicans to come up with a plan to protect the president.
For now, the party’s desperation revolves around essentially trying to destroy the reputation of the FBI. The GOP appears determined to burn that village down in order to try to save the White House.