Democrats, NeverTrump Ignore Constitutional Rights in Reaction to Memo Release

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks during her weekly media briefing at the U.S. Capitol, on November 3, 2011 in Washington, DC. Pelosi spoke about job creation and issues concerning the deficit cutting super committee. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty

Democrats and NeverTrump Republicans reacted to the release Friday of a memo alleging abuses of the federal government’s surveillance powers for political reasons by defending the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Justice, and the “Russia collusion” theory in general.

None acknowledged the importance of the constitutional rights potentially implicated by the memo’s accusations about the abuse of government authority.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee and opposed the memo’s release, called the memo’s release a “shameful” effort to discredit the FBI and the Justice Department.

Likewise, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the release of the memo a “cynical attempt” to discredit those agencies, and used the occasion to reiterate the accusations that led to the entire Russia collusion theory: “[W]hat do the Russians have on Trump, politically, financially and personally?” she said.

Similarly, Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez insisted: “The American people deserve to know the truth about Trump’s ties to Russia and whether he obstructed justice to prevent the truth from coming out.” He also accused Republicans of undermining the justice system — making no mention at all of the rights of the accused.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said the release of the memo could do “damage … to our ability to protect Americans from threats around the globe.” (He made no mention of the protection of Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights potentially implicated by the abuse of government surveillance, allegedly on the basis of partisan motives.)

While some members of NeverTrump — Republicans opposed to Trump — derided the memo as a “nothing burger,” frequent Trump critic Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) used the occasion of the memo’s release to accuse critics of the Russia investigations of partisanship and of assisting Russian president Vladimir Putin in dividing the country.

None suggested that the FBI, Justice Department, or other agencies might be open to legitimate criticism.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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