WASHINGTON, D.C. — Late Friday night, the White House announced that it would not be releasing the memo that House Democrats authored in response to the memo, written by Republican Congressman Devin Nunes’ staff, which was released by the president last week. Despite overwhelming objection from not just congressional Democrats, but the Department of Justice and the intelligence community, Trump released the Nunes memo just a couple days after the House Intelligence Committee voted to release it; the same committee that voted unanimously to release the Democratic version that Trump blocked last night.
Trump took to Twitter to explain his decision this morning. His tweet is below.
The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods (and more), would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2018
After sending the tweet, Mr. Trump embarked on his routine morning coffee, doughnut, deep fried jelly roll, jar of mayonnaise run, but was stopped just outside the White House gates by reporters. Trump answered a handful of questions from the pool about his decision to block the release of the memo, which his critics say only makes him look guiltier than before. Nunes’ memo was roundly criticized even by the FBI for having material facts wrong, and for omitting other facts entirely. The DOJ did also raise concerns about the Democrats memo, but Trump didn’t block the Republican memo over similar objections.
“Yes, of course it looks like I blocked the Democrat memo because it would make me look guilty,” Trump said. “But blocking its release makes me look guilty too, so I made an executive decision to do the thing that makes me look most guilty, and pray that my rabid, ever-dwindling, ever more delusional base will keep right on ignoring self-evident signs of my guilt of conscience.”
The president told reporters that he is not permanently blocking the Democratic memo, but instead wants some changes he calls “simple and bigly easy” made to it, and then he’ll “gladly and quickly” release it.
“All they have to do is take out all the parts that aren’t like the Nunes memo, and add in all the parts from the Nunes memo that aren’t in their memo,” Trump said. “It’s really that simple. Make your memo look and say exactly what Nunes’ memo says, and we’ll release it right away. Then we can put this whole Russian беспорядок behind us, once and for all.”
Trump said the American people shouldn’t have any suspicions as to his motivations for blocking one memo but allowing another to be released.
“I’m just protecting my ego, and maybe a little отмывание денег, no big whoop,” Trump said. “And all the Dems have to do is write a memo that totally vindicates me, like Nunes did, and we’ll be done with all this. They’ll get their memo released, I’ll get to keep being God Emperor. Win/win, really.”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) told reporters once he heard of Trump’s suggested edits that he was “onto something really very brilliant.”
“It’s time for this country to heal. To come together, under one banner of forced patriotism. Nothing gets us to the point of blind allegiance to Dear President faster than putting this entire Russian скандал in the rear view mirror, permanently, Comrades.”
This story is developing.