Democrats warned that releasing the Nunes memo would damage national security. Some who looked at the memo after its release didn’t really see how that would be the case. But it turns out Democrats could have been describing their own memo. According to a report at Fox News, the Democratic rebuttal memo is loaded with information on sources and methods in an effort to put the White House in a bind.
The Democratic rebuttal to a highly publicized GOP memo alleging government surveillance abuse is filled with sensitive details, a source told Fox News – claiming this was done intentionally to pressure the White House to either block the memo’s release or significantly redact it…
The source who spoke to Fox News has read the Democrats’ rebuttal memo, and said it is filled with information on sources and methods taken from original documents.
While the source described this as a way to put the White House in a difficult spot, Schiff maintained publicly that he wants to make sure the White House “does not redact our memo for political purposes.” A Schiff aide referred Fox News back to those comments when asked about the claim that the memo intentionally contained sources and methods.
Yesterday the Washington Post reported that Rep. Nunes expected the White House would need to redact the memo to conceal information on sources and methods:
Nunes has indicated to other committee members that the president might make significant redactions before allowing the Democrats’ memo to be released, according to one person familiar with the discussion, though accounts differed.
Rep. Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.) said that he did not think the president would block the memo’s release but that Trump should redact information about sources and methods of intelligence collection. Such details do not represent the bulk of the Democrats’ memo, he added, calling it an inaccurate representation of what’s contained in underlying intelligence documents.
So it seems pretty clear that there is some sensitive information in the Schiff memo and that leaves Trump with three choices. First, he could release the memo as is, including all of the sensitive information. At that point, Democrats can whisper that he is harming national security and add that they warned all along that releasing the memo would harm national security. No one in the media will call them on this sleight-of-hand.
Second, Trump could refuse to release the memo at which point Democrats, led by Schiff, will make the rounds on every network complaining his memo is being suppressed, along with the truth.
Third, Trump could redact the memo and release it, at which point the Democrats will claim the redactions a) are partisan, and b) show we shouldn’t be talking about this in public. You can probably visualize Rep. Schiff appearing on MSNBC next week, holding up a redacted page of his own memo and claiming it’s part of a White House cover-up.
You have to hand it to Rep. Schiff. This is a clever partisan gambit. No matter what the White House does, Democrats can spin it to their advantage to a mostly fawning media. No one, except maybe Fox, will press them on why they included this information in their memo in the first place. And if they do, Democrats will claim it was all necessitated by the release of the Nunes memo. You see? Everything Dems do is really Republican’s fault. And once the media is on board with that premise, everything becomes so much easier.