Republicans Have Four Easy Ways To #ReleaseTheMemo...Not Doing So Will Prove Them Shameless Frauds

Authored by Glenn Greenwald and Jon Schwarz via The Intercept,

One of the gravest and most damaging abuses of state power is to misuse surveillance authorities for political purposes. For that reason, The Intercept, from its inception, has focused extensively on these issues.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180120_memo.jpg

We therefore regard as inherently serious strident warnings from public officials alleging that the FBI and Department of Justice have abused their spying power for political purposes. 

Social media this week has been flooded with inflammatory and quite dramatic claims now being made by congressional Republicans about a four-page memo alleging abuses of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act spying processes during the 2016 election. This memo, which remains secret, was reportedly written under the direction of the chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, and has been read by dozens of members of Congress after the committee voted to make the memo available to all members of the House of Representatives to examine in a room specially designated for reviewing classified material.

The rhetoric issuing from GOP members who read the memo is notably extreme.

North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, chair of the House Freedom Caucus, called the memo “troubling” and “shocking” and said, “Part of me wishes that I didn’t read it because I don’t want to believe that those kinds of things could be happening in this country that I call home and love so much.”

GOP Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania stated: “You think about, ‘Is this happening in America or is this the KGB?’ That’s how alarming it is.”

This has led to a ferocious outcry on the right to “release the memo” – and presumably thereby prove that the Obama administration conducted unlawful surveillance on the Trump campaign and transition.

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On Thursday night, Fox News host and stalwart Trump ally Sean Hannity claimed that the memo described “the systematic abuse of power, the weaponizing of those powerful tools of intelligence and the shredding of our Fourth Amendment constitutional rights.”

Given the significance of this issue, it is absolutely true that the memo should be declassified and released to the public - and not just the memo itself. The House Intelligence Committee generally and Nunes specifically have a history of making unreliable and untrue claims (its report about Edward Snowden was full of falsehoods, as Bart Gellman amply documented, and prior claims from Nunes about “unmasking” have been discredited). Thus, mere assertions from Nunes — or anyone else — are largely worthless; Republicans should provide American citizens not merely with the memo they claim reveals pervasive criminality and abuse of power, but also with all of the evidence underlying its conclusions.

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have the power, working together or separately, to immediately declassify all the relevant information. And if indeed the GOP’s explosive claims are accurate – if, as HPSCI member Steve King, R-Iowa, says, this is “worse than Watergate” — they obviously have every incentive to get it into the public’s hands as soon as possible. Indeed, one could argue that they have the duty to do so.

On the other hand, if the GOP’s claims are false or significantly misleading – if they are, with the deepest cynicism imaginable, simply using these crucial issues to whip up their base or discredit the Mueller investigation, or exaggerating or making claims that lack any evidentiary support, or trying to have the best of all worlds by making explosive claims about the memo but never having to prove their truth - then they will either not release the memo or they will release it without any supporting documentation, making it impossible for Americans to judge its accuracy for themselves.

Anyone who is genuinely concerned about the claims being made about eavesdropping abuses should understand why the issue of evidence is so critical. After all, the House, Senate, and FBI investigations into any Trump collusion with Russia have so far proceeded with many startling claims in the media, but to date little hard evidence for the public to judge. Nobody rational should be assuming any claims or assertions from partisan actors about the 2016 election are true without seeing evidence to substantiate those claims.

The good news is there are at least four easy ways for congressional Republicans and/or Trump to definitively prove that all the right’s darkest suspicions about the Obama administration are true. If this memo and the underlying documents prove even a fraction of what GOP politicians and media figures are claiming about them, then what could possibly justify its ongoing concealment? Any or all of these methods should be promptly invoked to ensure that the public sees this evidence:

1. Trump can declassify anything he wants.

All classification by the U.S. government has no basis in laws passed by Congress (with one tiny exception that is irrelevant here). Rather, all classification is based on presidential executive orders, which rely on the president’s constitutional role as commander in chief of the armed forces. According to the Supreme Court, the presidential power “to classify and control access to information bearing on national security … flows primarily from the constitutional investment of power in the president.”

That means presidents can also declassify anything they chose to — for any reason or no reason — as they have done in the past. George W. Bush, under pressure in 2004, declassified the section of the 2001 presidential daily brief headlined “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” Barack Obama declassified the Justice Department memos produced during the Bush presidency on the legality of torture.

Thus if the House Intelligence Committee merely releases a version of its memo without the supporting documentation, that won’t be just because they don’t want Americans to see it – it will be because Trump doesn’t want us to see it either. Note that GOP House members are insistent that releasing the memo and the underlying source material would not remotely harm national security:

 

 

So what possible justification is there for Trump to continue to conceal this alleged evidence of massive criminality from the American people by hiding it behind “classified” designations? Indeed, it is illegal to abuse classified designations to hide evidence of official criminality: so not only can Trump declassify such evidence, one could argue that he must, or at least should.

2. The House (and Senate) intelligence committees can declassify any material they possess.

According to the procedural rules of both houses of Congress, their intelligence committees can declassify material in their possession if the committee votes that such declassification would be in the public interest. It is then declassified after five days unless the president formally objects. If the president does object, the full chamber votes on the question.

It is true that – in a measure of how embarrassingly deferential Congress is to the executive branch – neither the House nor the Senate intelligence committees has ever utilized this power, so it’s impossible to know how this gambit would play out in practice. But if Trump refused to release proof of the Obama administration’s misdeeds, congressional Republicans should have a straightforward way to overrule him.

3. The Constitution protects members of Congress from prosecution for “any speech or debate in either House.”

Members of Congress have legal immunity for acts they commit as part of the legislative process. Article I, Section 6, clause 1 of the Constitution states that “for any speech or debate in either House, [Senators and Representatives] shall not be questioned in any other place.” It is this constitutional shield that protected Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska from legal consequences in 1971 when he read sections of the Pentagon Papers during a meeting of the Senate Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds, and then placed the rest of the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record.

It’s true that members could face legal consequences for ancillary acts — perhaps if they unlawfully removed the relevant material from the congressional SCIF. But they could go to the House floor and describe both the memo’s revelations and the underlying evidence for it without any fear of legal consequences.

If the memo really proves what they claim, it would seem to be their patriotic duty would compel them do this. Ordinary citizens — like Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning — have risked prison in order to expose what they believed were serious official crimes; these members of Congress can do this without any of those consequences. So what justifies their failure to do this?

4. Republicans can leak everything to the news media.

If for some reason Trump and the congressional leadership refuse to use any of the above options to vindicate themselves, a brave member of Congress could turn whistleblower and transmit the classified proof of the GOP’s claims about the memo to the news media.

Many outlets now have secure methods of sending sensitive material to them, such as Secure Drop. Those for The Intercept can be found here. (All leaking entails risks, as we describe in our manual for whistleblowers.)

*  *  *

So that’s that. All Americans, particularly conservatives, should ask every Republican making spectacular assertions about this memo when they will be using the above ways to conclusively demonstrate that everything they’ve said is based in rock-solid fact.

If they do not, Republicans will conclusively demonstrate something else.

They will prove conclusively that all of this is about them shamelessly making claims they do not actually believe, fraudulently posturing as caring about one of the most vital, fundamental issues facing the United States: how the U.S. government uses the vast surveillance powers with which it has been vested.

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Comments

Automatic Choke stizazz Sat, 01/20/2018 - 22:39 Permalink

if it is enough to stop the ongoing witch hunt, it would have already been released.

if instead, it is sufficient to throw Obama in jail, along with HRC and a slew of the top FBI folks, it might indeed be judged too toxic, and everybody might be more willing to sit on it and take the consequences.   nobody wants a civil war.....

In reply to by stizazz

Bokkenrijder Urban Roman Sun, 01/21/2018 - 00:24 Permalink

Can’t Trump offer an immediate Presidential Pardon to whoever leaks it?

The Orange Jesus can put his money where is mouth is (“drain the swamp”) but my guess is that he won’t. 

The government Shut Down provides perfect media camouflage/distraction and in a few weeks (if not less) the dumb American Sheeple will have forgotten any memo even exists, however in the hands of The Tweeter in Chief it’s great ammunition and future leverage for more corrupt swamp deals to save his own neck. 

Trump is a fraud, and he’s too busy creating wars and sucking up to “our great military” (read: the MIC) to be draining The Swamp any time soon.

This won’t end with a bang of the content of this memo making headlines, but Trump will use this memo to control Mueller and then neatly file if away in his very own Swamp Filing Cabinet. 

In reply to by Urban Roman

Automatic Choke Bokkenrijder Sun, 01/21/2018 - 00:39 Permalink

AUTOCHOKE PREDICTION:

  Some idealistic and patriotic member of the house (either party, actually) will blow this out to the press....perhaps via wikipedia, perhaps to one of the alt-right-deplorable news-vendors.   This will be timed, however, for monday morning, as said patriot is aware that what is left of the media doesn't do shit over the weekends.

 

edit/update,  monday 4:30pm pacific time:    Autochoke is sincerely sorry to have gotten your hopes up and to have been wrong with this prediction.   Perhaps, in taking a cue from Autochoke's performance as an investor, he is again correct, but just early.

 

In reply to by Bokkenrijder

Klassenfeind Automatic Choke Sun, 01/21/2018 - 01:29 Permalink

"Did you not read a single sentence past the title of the article?"

@44_shooter

No, most ZH sheeple don't read beyond a catchy headline. Give them some screaming "Make America Great Again!" or "gold to $5000!" or "gold to $10000!" headlines and they fall for similar bullshit that the rest of the sheeple fall for.

Just read beyond the MAGA bullshit and actually try to cognitively understand what Trump's campaign promises were about, and it was clear from Day One that Trump is in cahoots with his very own swamp.

1) Make the military great again => the MIC

2) Make Israel great again => Bibi Netanyahu

3) Waterboarding => the American Police State

4) Increase spending on the already totally bloated US defence budget => more wars, more MIC.

5) building the Great Wall. Walls don't just keep people out, they also keep people locked inside, ask the East Germans who lived in East Berlin => more American Police State

[By the way, if you want to fight illegal immigration then it's really very simple: heavy fines on Americans (!) employing illegal aliens! That's it!]

6) War with Iran => more MIC

And then look at what Trump didn't say;

1) No amnesty for Edward Snowden

2) No repeal of the Patriot/Freedom Acts

3) No limiting of NSA eavesdropping on US citizens

4) He's the self-proclaimed "King of Debt," so does that sound like an end to the fiat currency Ponzi scheme? An end to the Petro-Dollar? An end to the Plunge Protection Team? An end to artificially low interest rates?

5) Did he ever mention gold, or auditing Fort Knox?

Trump likes to brag about how "it's gonna be huge" and how "it's gonna be great" and how "it's gonna be fantastic." He's probably talking about the HUGE, GREAT and FANTASTIC disappointment of his supporters by the year 2020....if not sooner.

But then it will be too late. All the Trump fanboys will be locked inside a waterboarding police state controlled by a military junta, and a Great Wall to prevent them from escaping. They voted for this themselves!

In reply to by Automatic Choke

Squid-puppets … Klassenfeind Sun, 01/21/2018 - 02:56 Permalink

yes, but for all that, he betrayed Hillary and the Globalists, or the most significant faction thereof. He has to take hillary and Obama down because he will never be safe until he does.

anyone who says the entire thing is kabuki and that he secretly blows hillary is full of it. Hillary and the media are too terrible at lying to mask the true unmitigated vitriol they feel for Trump stealing HER election.

And now all her corruption is exposed, and she wont go quietly. If she was prepared to have 4 Ambassadors fall into the hands if torturous jihadis and brag about the outcome, it'll be no sweat for her to do a JFK to the DJT

In reply to by Klassenfeind

remain calm rwe2late Sun, 01/21/2018 - 09:20 Permalink

Its all theater 

you are watching fiction and they make you want more to keep you sucked in. How fucking hard is it to leak it? If it was so damning that the “good guys” would be vindicated then it would have been released before it was made public. It’s all bullshit, both sides are on the same team. And how do I know and you will know.....NO ONE WILL GO TO JAIL

In reply to by rwe2late

Whoa Dammit remain calm Sun, 01/21/2018 - 11:03 Permalink

If and when the memo does come out, there will be a scrawny streak of silver hair (Bill) and a large diaper wrapped a in a Mao pantsuit (Hill) running for a private jet somewhere on a Connecticut tarmac. I imagine the scene will somewhat resemble the U.S. Embassy during fall of Saigon as their horde of lackeys are beaten off and left behind. 

In reply to by remain calm

geekz_rule Klassenfeind Sun, 01/21/2018 - 09:44 Permalink

#HostLife - The people have been turned into "hosts" (a food source - rent payers) for the 1% inbred parasites (leeches - rent collectors) through the re-establishment of the "West Virginia Coal Mine Experience"™ (circa 1900). By quietly monopolizing necessities (food, water, shelter, utilities), by debt expansion, and by wage suppression: we now work in the company "mines" (cube farms, whatever), live in the company housing (mortgage), shop in the company store (credit card debt), pay MONOPOLY prices for necessities. Cradle to grave slavery to the "Nanny" Corporations (all owned at the top by Banksters)

In reply to by Klassenfeind

DeadFred Klassenfeind Sun, 01/21/2018 - 10:40 Permalink

The purpose of getting the memo out there is to galvanize public opinion. Nothing will permanently change without that. If Trump declassifies it it will be viewed as a political ploy. They knew this stuff from day 1. They needed to create an atmosphere and a vehicle to put this egregious data into the mind of the public. The slow leaks since October have been part of the plan. How do you think the committees got all those text messages? 'Q' has been part of the plan. It's time now for the storm to hit but waiting another week for the proper time is not going to matter after waiting a year. Trump can't do it, Congress can. Leaking it on your own to the press or directly to Congress is just ludicrous. You destroy your career to speed things up a week or two? Insane. The only reason such a thing should be done is if the memo isn't ever going to come out elsewise. Otherwise it is just another example of the 'can't wait' impulsiveness that is destroying our country. Wait a couple of weeks but rattle cages and make noise until then. #releasethememo

In reply to by Klassenfeind

DeadFred Klassenfeind Sun, 01/21/2018 - 10:40 Permalink

The purpose of getting the memo out there is to galvanize public opinion. Nothing will permanently change without that. If Trump declassifies it it will be viewed as a political ploy. They knew this stuff from day 1. They needed to create an atmosphere and a vehicle to put this egregious data into the mind of the public. The slow leaks since October have been part of the plan. How do you think the committees got all those text messages? 'Q' has been part of the plan. It's time now for the storm to hit but waiting another week for the proper time is not going to matter after waiting a year. Trump can't do it, Congress can. Leaking it on your own to the press or directly to Congress is just ludicrous. You destroy your career to speed things up a week or two? Insane. The only reason such a thing should be done is if the memo isn't ever going to come out elsewise. Otherwise it is just another example of the 'can't wait' impulsiveness that is destroying our country. Wait a couple of weeks but rattle cages and make noise until then. #releasethememo

In reply to by Klassenfeind

CharmingOne Automatic Choke Sun, 01/21/2018 - 09:47 Permalink

I am inclined to agree with you Auto, but one question remains for which I have not been able to deduce an answer....

Who, pray tell, is the scribe, or author of this memo?

Remember your your Law school training---if facts are not on your side, option "B" is the ad hominem tactic, arguing "against the man" (in this case the messenger)somewhat

Unless the author is perceived to be somewhat neutral, and of significant authority, I can easily see this being attacked as a partisan document, "without basis" as it were.....

Oh well,hope springs eternal....we shall see!

In reply to by Automatic Choke

Betrayed Bokkenrijder Sun, 01/21/2018 - 03:44 Permalink

Yep Trumpenstein is a complete fraud who will do what his Zionist masters demand of him. After all the flip flops it’s amazing how so many here think he’s working for them as Goldman Bankster scum are rampant throughout his Administration. Oh and let’s not forget Little Jeffie needs his naps. Unless it’s Granny takin a toke for her sore joints.

In reply to by Bokkenrijder

redmudhooch Betrayed Sun, 01/21/2018 - 10:39 Permalink

Everyone already forgot about Lois Lerner/IRS, what did Trump/Sessions do about that?

This is why DC is so fucking corrupt, no one is ever punished.

They also forget that Trumps/Clintons go way back, Ivanka and Chelsea are BFF's...

Its all a show retards, anything to keep your mind off 9/11 truth, Vegas, War on Terror hoax, being robbed blind by MIC and Fed, AIPAC owning your govt, healthcare racket, etc, etc ..........

Trump DOJ: No plans to charge Lois Lerner in IRS scandal
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/09/08/doj-declines-to-charge-lois-…

Fast & Furious: No prosecution for Holder; Wiretapping suggests top-level knowledge; Key player in Clinton Gun Ban ran the op!
https://www.buckeyefirearms.org/fast-furious-no-prosecution-holder-wire…

DOJ Closes Lois Lerner Investigation Without Charges
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-10-23/doj-closes-lois-lerner-investi…
 

In reply to by Betrayed

hootowl Bokkenrijder Sun, 01/21/2018 - 08:40 Permalink

If Trump doesn't force this memo and its underlying evidentiary support to be released to the public in its entirety, he will lose a great deal of his support base.  There are too many suspicious ZOGgers and swampers too close to Trump.  Jerod and Ivanka need to be moved back to Jew York and be given much-reduced access to the office of POTUS.  They were NOT elected to any positions in this government.  Ivanka is much to Liberal.  Jerod comes from a long line of Khazarian/Persian, convicted, criminals.

In reply to by Bokkenrijder