Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is endangering our country. “On Monday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) moved to release a memo written by his staff that cherry-picks facts, ignores others and smears the FBI and the Justice Department — all while potentially revealing intelligence sources and methods. He did so even though he had not read the classified documents that the memo characterizes and refused to allow the FBI to brief the committee on the risks of publication and what it has described as ‘material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.’ The party-line vote to release the Republican memo but not a Democratic response was a violent break from the committee’s nonpartisan tradition and the latest troubling sign that House Republicans are willing to put the president’s political dictates ahead of the national interest.”
The danger of Republicans losing the House majority is great: “With the Democrats having a significant lead over Republicans in this year’s generic ballot polls, and with the president’s party typically losing congressional seats in midterm elections, many observers are now discussing the likelihood of a change in party control of the House of Representatives, and perhaps the Senate. Currently, the focus has been on horse race concerns rather than on what the implications might be if Congress does change hands.”
Trump’s legal danger arises in part from his obliviousness to legal norms and insistence on repeating errors. “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein visited the White House in December seeking President Donald Trump’s help. The top Justice Department official in the Russia investigation wanted Trump’s support in fighting off document demands from House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes. But the President had other priorities ahead of a key appearance by Rosenstein on the Hill, according to sources familiar with the meeting. Trump wanted to know where the special counsel’s Russia investigation was heading. And he wanted to know whether Rosenstein was ‘on my team.’ ” Gosh we’ve heard that a few times.
An unusual danger requires an unusual response. “The FBI, in an unusual statement on Wednesday, said the memo contains significant omissions about the surveillance decisions made during the time period in question. The bureau and the Department of Justice also expressed concerns to the White House that the release of such secret information could set a bad precedent and undermine national security interests.”
Republicans tied themselves to Trump and are now in danger of a wipeout. The tendency to play to the base “largely explains why Trump and congressional Republicans could not attract a single House or Senate Democrat to their legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act or to their tax bill. Even the infrastructure plan Trump pushed on Tuesday emphasizes private profit so heavily that few Democrats may embrace it, despite their longtime advocacy for building new roads and bridges. This dynamic could hurt Republicans in November by limiting Trump’s capacity to reach swing voters generally content with the economy.” He is also an unhinged racist who scares and offends a great deal of the country.
The danger of corruption is mitigated by the bright light of a free press. “President Donald Trump’s top public health official resigned Wednesday amid mounting questions about financial conflicts of interest. Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald’s resignation comes one day after POLITICO reported that one month into her tenure as CDC director, she bought shares in a tobacco company — the leading cause of preventable death and an issue she had long championed.”
The danger to our own national security of cutting foreign aid to those with whom we have disagreements is great. “Research on the effectiveness of linking UN votes to foreign aid has shown mixed results. Poor countries, even those we support, are often willing to take symbolic stands against the United States at the UN. It’s difficult for the United States to use its outsized influence as a foreign aid donor strategically because most foreign aid is controlled by Congress, making it hard to manipulate aid flows in a timely manner.” Read the whole thing.