The Slatest

After Memo Release, Democrats Say Republicans Are “Accomplices” in Effort to Obstruct Special Counsel

House Intelligence Committee Ranking member Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks to the press on Capitol Hill, November 30, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
House Intelligence Committee Ranking member Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks to the press on Capitol Hill, November 30, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In a sign of how much everyone in Washington was expecting the release of the controversial memo that claims to show abuses in the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump presidential campaign, the Democrats were ready with responses. And they didn’t mince words.

President Donald Trump’s decision to go ahead with the declassification of the memo despite objections from the FBI and Justice Department is merely the latest in “a coordinated propaganda effort to discredit, disable and defeat the Russia investigation.” But now Republicans in the House of Representatives are “accomplices to a shocking campaign to obstruct the work of the Special Counsel, to undermine the credibility and legitimacy of the Justice Department and the FBI, and to bury the fact that a foreign adversary interfered with our last election,” the Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee wrote in a statement.

The move amounts to a “betrayal of the American people.” And while it may not be surprising coming from Trump, GOP lawmakers had so far managed to ignore the president or simply make excuses for him. Now though, the release of the memo “constitutes a deliberate and active complicity in the Administration’s attempts to undermine the Special Counsel and the FBI.”

Democrats in the House Intelligence Committee also responded to the release of the memo, calling it “a shameful effort to discredit” the FBI and the Department of Justice while undermining the Special Counsel. The way in which Republicans in the committee refused to release a “comprehensive response” to the controversial memo amounts to “a transparent effort to suppress the full truth.”

Using classified information for partisan gain “sets a terrible precedent and will do long-term damage to the Intelligence Community,” note committee Democrats. And that’s without counting the way in which the “document mischaracterizes highly sensitive classified information .”

The Democrats in the Judiciary Committee led by ranking member Rep. Jerrold Nadler say Republican lawmakers “have put the President’s self-interest and their own political objectives above the needs of the country.” Up until Friday, Republicans seemed to be merely indifferent to Trump’s efforts to exert pressure on the FBI. But by releasing the memo, “President Trump has successfully added the Republican Majority in Congress as accessories to his continuing obstruction of justice.”

Earlier in the day, Nadler said that he thinks Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, worked with the White House to produce the controversial memo. “I don’t know that, but I certainly suspect it. I suspect it because, obviously, of the prior history of Nunes working together with the White House,” Nadler told CNN. “And because when asked whether his staff had coordinated with the White House, he wouldn’t answer the question.”

Trump had laid the groundwork for the release of the memo early Friday morning with a tweet that criticized the leadership of the FBI and Justice Department for their alleged bias toward Republicans. Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democrat in the House Intelligence Committee, also took to Twitter to criticize the president, noting that “the country’s top elected leader has agreed to selectively and misleadingly release classified info to attack the FBI.”

Update, 2:25 p.m.: The Democratic leadership is now out with a statement in the form of a warning to Trump against firing Rod Rosenstein or Robert Mueller, comparing the possibility to Nixon’s infamous Saturday Night Massacre: