Forget the Memo – Can We Worry About the Banks (Again)?

A classic circular kerfuffle in congress this week shifted eyes away from rare bipartisan cooperation on spying powers and bank reform

By Matt Taibbi and cross-posted from Rolling Stone

The Internet is exploding today with cries of #ReleaseTheMemo, with the GOP throwing a big fat j’accuse at the Democrats. Republicans are pounding the table over what by now is about the millionth news story to be called “worse than Watergate” since the Russia scandal first broke. “People will go to jail!” chirpedFlorida Republican Matt Gaetz.

The GOP claims congressional committees have been shown a memo detailing shocking Obama-era surveillance abuses involving the Russia case. Dithering town-crier types like Iowa’s Steve King have spent the last day or so insisting to reporters that if only they could see the explosive material, they’d be lighting torches and marching in search of Obama administration security officials to burn as witches.

“The sickening reality has set in,” King yelped.

This trick – i.e. “If only you could see the amazing secret stuff I can’t tell you about, although actually I can” – has been employed with increasing regularity by both sides in the past few years, particularly with regard to #Russiagate.

By all means, if the memo is important (although I doubt it) let’s let the public see it. But followers of this story should also remember that if this or any classified document somehow exculpates Donald Trump on any front, he’s had the power all along to declassify such information.

Why Trump hasn’t done so on a number of these occasions has been one of the enduring mysteries of this affair. It’s given pause to even the most hardened Russiagate skeptics.

This includes people like former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy of the National Review. McCarthy has been highly critical of the Robert Mueller investigation, but has also repeatedly wondered why Trump is not lifting the veil on some of these documents.

One of the few figures in the media to explore holes in Russiagate theories propagated by both sides, McCarthy had this to say in August:

 “I can’t get past a nagging question: Why must we speculate about whether the Obama administration abusively exploited its foreign-intelligence-collection powers in order to spy on Donald Trump’s political campaign? After all, Trump is president now. If he was victimized, he’s in a position to tell us all about it”…

 

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