For a memo that Republicans were so desperate to make public, House Speaker Paul Ryan suddenly seems notably reluctant to even discuss it.
But Ryan had nothing but awkward and unconvincing responses, before he simply gave up and made for the exit.
But Ryan can’t afford to offend Trump on the matter or on any matter.
So when held to account by the press, Ryan tried to dodge the question and change the topic, claiming the memo was somehow all about civil liberties.
He then resorted to abruptly ending the Q&A session, ignoring further questions and making a hasty exit.
The failed memo has quickly become an anchor around Ryan’s neck.
As speaker of the Republican-control House, it was Ryan who allowed the memo charade to get out of control. And it was Ryan who allowed the House Intelligence Committee to rip up decades of protocol in terms of how documents are released to the public.
“Mr. Ryan bears full responsibility for the deterioration of congressional oversight of intelligence operations,” a Washington Post editorial recently stressed.
In a follow-up condemnation on Tuesday, the Post continued to hammer Ryan’s handling of the matter.
“Mr. Ryan should now publicly insist that the president approve the release of the Democratic response,” the Post declared. “He also should remove Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the loose-cannon chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who is apparently preparing more memos for release.”
Further, the Post noted, Ryan “should bring up legislation to shield special counsel Robert S. Mueller III from any White House attempt to undermine or fire him.”
Ryan is an architect of the GOP’s failed memo strategy. He can’t just walk away from it now.