As we've said before, we are not in the business of opposing the release of information of potential public value. But if the Nunes memo were truly about fair congressional oversight of law enforcement, as Mr. Ryan claims, Republicans would allow the simultaneous release of a Democratic memo on the same subject. But they are not, though Mr. Ryan's staff says the speaker supports releasing the Democratic memo after giving it more scrutiny. That leaves only unsettling possibilities for why Mr. Nunes, a longtime Trump ally, is pushing to disseminate his version as the president's ire about the Russia investigation crests and speculation swirls about his desire to fire senior law enforcement officials, including special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. CNN reported Thursday that Mr. Trump believes the Nunes memo "could discredit the agency" by exposing "bias within the FBI's top ranks."
Mr. Ryan bears full responsibility for the deterioration of congressional oversight of intelligence operations. Once a bipartisan responsibility that lawmakers treated soberly — as they still do in the Senate — oversight under Mr. Nunes has become another front in Mr. Trump's assault on the law enforcement institutions investigating the president and his associates. House Republicans are poisoning the committee's relationship with the intelligence community and distracting from real issues demanding attention.
In all the noise around the memo, it is easy to lose sight of the scary truth that a hostile foreign government attempted to influence the 2016 election and shows every intention of trying again this year. You'd think Mr. Nunes's committee would be alarmed by this threat to American democracy. Instead, Mr. Nunes, with Mr. Ryan's aid and comfort, is helping Mr. Trump impede an investigation into these very issues. It is sad to see the speaker allow the House to be tarnished in this way.
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