Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
Saturdays have always been busy Twitter days for President Trump, and yesterday was no exception. In addition to tweets defending embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and announcing that the suspicious fire that devastated an apartment in Trump Tower had been put out, Mr. Trump issued two tweets on Saturday morning related to the ongoing refusal by the FBI and Justice Department to comply with congressional demands for un-redacted documents pertinent to the FISA abuse scandal.
Here are those two tweets:
Lawmakers of the House Judiciary Committee are angrily accusing the Department of Justice of missing the Thursday Deadline for turning over UNREDACTED Documents relating to FISA abuse, FBI, Comey, Lynch, McCabe, Clinton Emails and much more. Slow walking – what is going on? BAD!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2018
What does the Department of Justice and FBI have to hide? Why aren’t they giving the strongly requested documents (unredacted) to the HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE? Stalling, but for what reason? Not looking good!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2018
The President’s characterization of the failure of DOJ and FBI officials to produce the requested documents as “slow walking” is a vast understatement. The reality here is that the requests for most of these documents have been outstanding since at least last August, some even longer than that. And it’s not just the House Judiciary Committee that is being stonewalled, it’s also the House Intelligence Committee, Chaired by California Republican Devin Nunes.
Nunes became so frustrated with the situation in mid-March that he set an April 11 deadline for the production of the documents in question, promising to pursue all remedies available to him if the stonewalling continued. On Friday, after having produced an updated, but still redacted version of some of the documents in question, the Justice Department offered to allow members of the House Intelligence Committee to “view” these un-classified documents in a “secure room” normally used to provide viewing of documents that are highly classified.
Separately, after having missed a Thursday deadline for complying with a subpoena issued by House Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte, the DOJ said it would “supplement” what it has already produced this coming week.
Obviously, neither response is in any way acceptable, and the time has come for congress quit fooling around with the bad actors at DOJ and the FBI, and keep Rep. Nunes’s promise to use “every tool at its disposal” to force proper compliance. Nunes and Goodlatte, both good men, have unfortunately spent the last 8 months whining about the lack of cooperation and making threats, but have always backed off when the bad actors missed whatever latest deadline had been set for compliance. Nunes was on Fox & Friends again Sunday morning, complaining about DOJ/FBI’s latest dodge, but not saying exactly what he’s planning to do to combat it.
Here’s a suggestion: Refuse the offer by the bad actors to “view” these documents. That is a completely unacceptable offer, and if it is accepted, it will just show Nunes and congress to once again be a toothless tiger. The same advice applies to Goodlatte: your deadline has been missed, and it’s time for further, real action. You issued a lawful subpoena that has been ignored by a bunch of scofflaws – do something real about that reality.
And guess what? Both men now have been provided cover for taking real enforcement action by the President of the United States. Whether they realize it or not, that is most likely why President Trump issued those specific tweets on that particular subject early on a Saturday morning.
Don’t be fooled otherwise: There are a number of things congress has the power to do here, including levying heavy fines on the bad actors, or even having them tossed in jail. Those are just two of five real options – with real examples of precedence – laid out by Mark Tapscott in a piece at Lifezette in a really good piece published on Saturday.
The other two people who just got some presidential cover on Saturday are FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who are now free to take some or all of the bad actors who have been conducting the document production stonewall. If they’re too squeamish to take the media heat for such firings themselves, they can always point to the President’s and congress’s frustrations as the justification for finally, at long last taking some action to break up the logjam at their agencies.
The President doesn’t just tweet this stuff for no reason. We should expect some serious action to end the stonewalling of these various congressional committees in the coming days.
Just another day in the FBI is an outlaw agency America.
That is all.
Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon
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