MaryGraham in"Presidents'Secrets" says govt classification is used 2conceal blunders,protect careers&buttress agency goalsSO DRAIN THE SWAMP— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) February 11, 2017
Whoever monitors twitter at WH for Pres Trump get on subject of my immediate tweet and stop overclassification & start declassifying— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) February 11, 2017
Whoever monitors twitter at WH for President Trump read my previous 2tweets and hv this businessman understand TRANSPARENCY=ACCOUNTABILITY— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) February 11, 2017
In these messages, Grassley appears to be referring to a book by Mary Graham, called “
” Graham is co-director of the Transparency Policy Project at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and has written on the subject of government openness and secrecy in the past.
Grassley is no stranger to issues of government transparency and secrecy, having used his perch on the Senate Judiciary Committee in the past to force the disclosure of information from the Obama administration on a variety of matters, especially the “Fast and Furious” gunrunning operation. He also has been a longtime ally of federal inspectors general and the work they do to investigate waste, fraud and abuse or the struggles they face in obtaining information from agency bosses.
The subject Grassley was tweeting about on Sunday morning seemed especially timely.
Whoever monitors twitter at WH tell Pres Trump to ask Putin"What do u hv agst ElectionOpponents bc they are killed/imprisoned/poisoned?"— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) February 12, 2017
A spokeswoman clarified Sunday that Grassley is “looking for President Trump to encourage democratic principles and fair elections in Russia.”
But did Grassley raise the issue himself when he had lunch with Trump and other senators at the White House last Thursday? And why did he tweet about this now? Did it have something to do with recent reports about national security adviser Michael Flynn and his interactions with top Russian officials?
Grassley’s spokeswoman wouldn’t say.
“He said it would promote democracy for Trump to make those points to Putin. Might not result in a lot of change but promoting democracy is important. That’s really it,” she added by email.
Why the senator didn’t directly troll Trump by using @RealDonaldTrump in his tweets is unclear. (We’ll give him a pass and presume maybe he’s not familiar with the “mentions” concept.) Still, the idea that a long-serving senator and powerful party broker would feel the need to tweet “Whoever monitors twitter at WH …” to his approximately 112,000 followers (including many reporters) is a signal of how disconnected many Republican lawmakers still feel from the new administration.
Later, Grassley asked the White House about another matter:
Whoever monitors twitter at WH for businessman president Trump "when is WH going to be opened for public tours?" Mrs G wants to know— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) February 12, 2017
This is a less serious but notable issue of concern, especially to congressional offices, which get inundated daily by requests for assistance from constituents seeking tickets to the White House or other Washington tourist destinations.
The White House has been mostly closed to the public since Inauguration Day, keeping with the tradition of shuttering the residence during a presidential transition to give the new first family some time to settle in. But requests for tours have been backlogged in recent weeks with first lady Melania Trump taking longer than anticipated to hire top aides who work with the National Park Service to field the requests and schedule tours. Melania Trump filled out her top staff just last week.