February 2, 2018

Whitehouse Statement on Release of Nunes Memo

‘The American people deserve better than this smear campaign against our top federal law enforcement agencies and their leaders, and they deserve the truth of who’s directing it’

Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, released the following statement on House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Republicans’ release of a memo containing sensitive information on FBI intelligence gathering and alleging abuses of power by the FBI in the Russia investigation:

“This memo doesn’t come close to making a case against the hard work and integrity of the FBI, as even those in the White House have reportedly admitted.  But its release is another troubling development in a desperate smear campaign that seems to be gaining steam.  The White House and Chairman Nunes have stampeded through stern objections and warnings from senior national security officials to use the dirty trick of selectively declassifying information.  That trick means the President’s own appointees at the Justice Department and the FBI are powerless to rebut false or misleading claims because the underlying information must remain secret.  The shield of classification becomes a sword of deception. 

“Then there is the striking uniformity of message between the White House, Chairman Nunes and fellow Congressional Republicans, Russian social media trolls, and conservative media.  Chairman Nunes refuses to comment on whether he’s coordinated with the White House in this effort.  Russian bots have helped to promote the #releasethememo hashtag on Twitter.  The right wing has hyped the memo relentlessly as a ‘bombshell’ and ‘explosive’.  And we have known for months the President is willing to ‘nudge’ allies on the Hill to pursue ‘investigations’ that will distract from the inquiry into his campaign’s involvement in Russian meddling. 

“The American people deserve better than this smear campaign against our top federal law enforcement agencies and their leaders, and they deserve the truth of who’s directing it.”  

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