One week after hyping the failed GOP memo, the White House, and much of the press, goes silent over the Democratic rebuttal.
One week after releasing its supposed blockbuster, “worse than Watergate” memo to smear the FBI that turned out to be an embarrassing dud, the Trump White House has gone quiet about the Democrats’ counter-memo.
Drafted in response to the GOP report, the new report will likely provide details debunking the Republicans’ failed effort last week to cast doubt on the FBI, and on special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigations.
The House Intelligence Committee, in a rare act of bipartisanship agreement, voted Monday to release the Democratic memo. But Republicans, led by committee chairman Devin Nunes of California, only did so after they released last week’s memo first, and without allowing Democrats to present their side in real time.
The memo was sent to the White House on Monday and, by law, Trump has five days to review and decide whether to allow its release and, if so, whether to order parts of it redacted.
It’s the same review process that Trump, touting “transparency,” used to release the Republican memo last week, which means it would be stunning if he blocked the Democratic report.
“Basic fairness” would dictate Trump treat both documents similarly, CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin noted on Friday.
And according to a recent CNN report, “One White House aide told CNN there is an unspoken agreement that it will reflect poorly on the administration if the Republican memo gets released while the Democratic one does not.”
But Trump often opts for the illogical and the unfair. And this White House constantly does things that “reflect poorly on the administration,” such as defend a wife-beater who works on staff without proper security clearance.
Note that Trump released the GOP memo last week over the strong, public objection of the FBI, which warned that its omission made the documents incomplete. The bureau warned that it would be “extraordinarily reckless” to make the memo public. The FBI has expressed no such reservations about the Democratic report.
In a strange way, the White House has benefited on the memo issue by a string of disastrous news stories including a cratering stock market and the ethical collapse of Trump’s chief of staff that has shifted the media’s focus away from the crucial Democratic report.
Last Friday, the Republican memo was made public and widely derided as a GOP marketing flop. Then, early this week when the House voted to send the Democratic memo to the White House, the topic received urgent news coverage.
But not any more. And that could allow Trump to refuse to release the memo at the end of the workweek and have it garner relatively little attention.
Earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wrote a letter to Trump, insisting that if he does not release the Democrats’ memo, it “will confirm the American peoples worst fears that the release of Chairman Nunes memo was only intended to undermine Special Counsel Bob Muellers investigation.”
For lots of Americans, that fear has already been confirmed.