Why the Nunes memo really isn't a partisan fight
Posted January 31, 2018 7:55 p.m. EST
(CNN) — Because we are so polarized politically these days, there's a tendency to assume that every single issue that breaches our collective national consciousness must, at its root, be a fight between Democrats and Republicans.
And, most are!
But, the assumption of this polarization sometimes oversimplifies the actual dynamic at work. That is very much the case when it comes to whether or not the White House should release a memo put together by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) that allegedly contains a series of instances of wrongdoing by the FBI and law enforcement as it relates to the 2016 presidential election.
One one side of the divide, you have Nunes, the GOP members of the House Intelligence, who voted along party lines earlier this week to release the memo, Speaker Paul Ryan and White House chief of staff John Kelly.
Trump himself was overheard Tuesday night telling Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina he was "100%" supportive that the memo be released within the 5 day window. But, the White House has offered no official position yet.
On the other side you have congressional Democrats, yes, who believe releasing the memo is a major step in politicizing an arena -- intelligence gathering -- that has never before been politicized.
But, you also have the FBI, which is run by Trump appointee Christopher Wray, opposed to the release of the memo. In an unusual statement released on Wednesday, the FBI said that "we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy."
In neither camp is Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (N.C.), who has asked to see the Nunes memo but, so far, been turned away.
"None of the senators have access to it," Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford told CNN.
The divide here then is less Republican vs Democrats -- although there's some of that! -- than it is those who are suspicious of the activities of the FBI and broader Justice Department and those who are more trusting in those law enforcement officials.
The Point: This fight is almost certainly moot -- as the decision whether to release the memo lies now entirely in Trump's hands, and he has been quite clear of where he stands on it. Still: This isn't the same old D vs. R fight.