Speak up, Mr. Speaker

Published on Thursday, 8 February 2018 20:02
Written by The Washington Post

Last week, Republican lawmakers released the Nunes memo, an overhyped, thinly evidenced hit on the Justice Department, without simultaneously publishing a Democratic response. Allowing only one side of the story on the record prevented Americans from gaining as full an understanding as possible. We had argued from the start for the documents’ simultaneous release.

Now the House Intelligence Committee has voted, belatedly, to release the Democratic memo, too. From there the document has gone to the White House for declassification review.

We would like to assume, given President Donald Trump’s newfound fondness for transparency, that permission will quickly be granted and the document will not be aggressively redacted. We hope House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will insist on the expeditious and full release he has claimed to favor all along.

GOP lawmakers who maintained that the Nunes memo should do no harm to the Russia investigation were fooling themselves, or else trying to fool the rest of us, about the memo’s transparent purpose: to provide Mr. Trump a pretext to delegitimize or terminate the probe. Not surprisingly, Trump immediately claimed that the memo “totally vindicates” him.

If Ryan wanted only to promote congressional oversight of law enforcement, as he says, he would have insisted that the Nunes memo and the Democratic response emerge simultaneously.

Ryan should now publicly insist that the president approve the release of the Democratic response. 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.

The Washington Post

Posted in The Bristol Press, Editorials on Thursday, 8 February 2018 20:02. Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2018 20:04.