OPINION: Mr. President, #ReleaseTheMemo in Your SOTU Address
President Donald Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address on Jan. 30. According to senior administration officials, Mr. Trump will highlight many accomplishments in his first year in office and share his vision for building “a safe, strong, and proud America.”
Trump certainly has earned bragging rights. According to the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. GDP will grow 2.7 percent in 2018, obliterating the “secular stagnation” myth of the Obama years. The unemployment rate is 4.1 percent, a level not seen in 17 years. Black and Hispanic unemployment are at their lowest point on record. U.S. consumer confidence is a near 17-year high. Economic optimism has soared. People believe they will be better off in the coming years.
However, a decade after the Great Recession began, one-third of Americans still have not fully recovered financially. On the one hand, a review of this year’s economic success is welcome: we all can use some good news. On the other hand, Trump’s roaring economy has demonstrated that the Obama era’s overregulation, statism, and government intervention were a total failure. The United States has been given a powerful lesson in the nature of things that one hopes will not soon be forgotten.
Nonetheless, I suggest there is something more pressing that Trump should talk about in his State of the Union address: the four-page memo prepared by the House Intelligence Committee. The memo allegedly documents the FBI and Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) abuse of surveillance powers and the corruption of high-level officers of the FBI in the Obama administration. According to early leaks, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and former FBI Director James Comey are specifically named in the memo.
Why is the memo so important?
The intelligence community is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and producing information to protect U.S. national security. No one should use the intelligence agencies as a weapon to surveil American citizens or to seek to interfere with domestic politics. But this is exactly what the memo alleges took place. Many House representatives who have read the memo have expressed shock and dismay. If their claims are true, the surveillance abuse could easily be the largest political scandal since the founding of the republic.
While the Democrats have accused Trump of colluding with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election, the memo purportedly paints a very different picture. People who have seen the memo have hinted that the FBI used the widely discredited Steele dossier, which was partially funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to obtain surveillance warrant(s) against team Trump.
FBI and DOJ officials also made biased and politically motivated decisions, eventually leading to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian probe. If proven, the memo could spell the end of Mueller’s witch hunt. The indictments against former Trump lieutenants Flynn and Manafort could be thrown out because they are the fruit of the poisonous tree.
The evidence in the memo is said to be so damaging that the Democrats are fighting tooth and nail to stop its release. They have called it “distorted,” “talking points,” “misleading,” or summarily described it as “lies.”
But the curious thing is, if the memo is as untrue as the Democrats claim it is, shouldn’t the Democrats support the release and let the Republicans make fools out of themselves? The only reasonable explanation is that the Obama administration, Democratic National Committee, and the Clinton campaign were inextricably involved in the surveillance abuse; the current resistance of the Democrats is nothing but a tactic for self-preservation.
President Trump is reported behind the scenes to be pushing for the release of the memo. But he has the authority to declassify not only the memo, but also the underlying documents that the memo is based on. At a time that the FBI faces a crisis in public confidence, President Trump has the responsibility to tell the American people the truth and to restore their trust in government. #ReleaseTheMemo in your SOTU address, Mr. President. Read it out loud.