Ex-Bush lawyer: Trump’s memo decision a ‘massive strategic miscalculation’
A former lawyer in the George W. Bush White House on Friday criticized President Trump’s decision to block the release of a memo drafted by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.
Jamil Jaffer, who in the past served as senior counsel to the House Intelligence Committee and also as a former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, said Trump’s move was a “massive strategic miscalculation.”
“The White House’s failure to declassify the House Intelligence Committee minority memo — particularly in the face of unanimous bipartisan vote by the committee — represents a massive strategic miscalculation,” Jaffer said, according to Politico.
Trump last week approved the release of a GOP memo drafted by staff for Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), which accused the FBI and Justice Department of abusing a surveillance program to target the Trump campaign. The committee voted this week to release the Democratic rebuttal pending Trump’s approval.
“The decision to reject the committee’s request simply plays into the partisan narrative about the Nunes memo and deprives the American public of the benefit of both sides of highly politicized debate,” Jaffer said Friday.
His comments fall in line with other GOP critics of the move, who have said that Americans deserve the opportunity to view both documents. Democrats have blasted the move, accusing Trump of exhibiting a double standard in his handling of the memos.
Trump cited national security concerns as his reason not to release the Democratic memo, with White House counsel Don McGahn saying in a letter to Nunes that while Trump “is inclined to declassify” the memo, the administration believes it would create “especially significant concerns” for “national security and law enforcement interests.”
The president has claimed that the GOP memo released last week “totally vindicates” him in the probe into whether his campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.
“Even worse,” Jaffer continued, “This unforced error undermines the President’s own ability to make the case about alleged failures in the intelligence collection process and, as such, is yet another example of this White House being its own worst enemy.”
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