On Monday President Trump ordered the declassification of 20 or 21 previously redacted pages from the Carter Page FISA applications. The declassification order also extends to the redactions made to text messages from senior Justice Department and FBI officials. Kelly Cohen covered the declassification order for the Washington Examiner here.
Democrats find this a profoundly alarming development. On Tuesday Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Mark Warner sent a letter Tuesday asking Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to provide an “immediate briefing” to the Gang of Eight before declassifying and releasing the documents. The Democrats expressed “profound alarm” at Trump’s declassification order.
I have embedded the letter below via Scribd. Mark Wauck gives the letter a close reading in “Dems throw Wray and Rosenstein under the bus.” Hey, what about Coats?
The Democratic signatories complain that the declassification is “selective,” but of course they don’t ask for the release of additional material. Their complaint is a patent pretext. Rather, they seek to protect against the disclosure of documents tending to show the true scandal implicit in the Russia probe and the misconduct of the officials who had a hand in it it.
Obama administration CIA Director John Brennan has sought to incite resistance to Trump’s declassification order. Brennan actually said this: “If Mr. Trump and the White House does [sic] not relent, then I think they have some decisions to make, whether or not they are going to the just not follow that direction and be fired or to resign.”
Brennan appealed to the Constitution: “[I]f they really believe that this is going on to have serious impact on the national security, law enforcement, and judicial process, they have an obligation since they took the oath of office to the Constitution of the United States and not Mr. Trump to uphold their responsibilities and their agency and the departments’ authorities.”
Brennan is not to be trusted on the Constitution any more than he is to be trusted on anything else. You can almost feel the sweat breaking out on his forehead. Brennan, however, is in good company with the Democratic leaders. According to them, “The involvement of the White House counsel, or any component of the White House, is highly improper and profoundly troubling.”
There is a reason that these assertions come without the citation of any authority other than their own say so. Their argument is purely ipse dixit. Well, anyone can play this game. By the same token, and with considerably more ground for support, one might say that the Democratic leaders are highly improper and profoundly troubling.