Quigley comments on Trump's speech and gives Nunes a deadline

Date: 
02/02/2018
Quigley

Mike Quigley*

In the midst of the Washington, D.C. flurry of activity with President Trump's first State of the Union speech and the potential release of the memo by U.S. House Intelligence Chairman, Representative Devin Nunes, Mike Quigley, 5th District U.S. House of Representatives, comments on Trump's speech and gives Nunes a deadline. 

Trump's State of the Union
“President Trump delivered a State of the Union address long on self-congratulation and short on solutions to improve the lives of hardworking Americans across this country. He attempted to use insincere pledges of bipartisanship to distract from his consistently extremist proposals, and took full credit for an economy that began recovering early in the Obama presidency," says Quigley. 

"One scripted speech will do nothing to reverse the irreparable harm committed by his administration, or disguise the demeaning and embarrassing rhetoric used by the President to attack immigrants, communities of color, the press, foreign allies, and countless others during his first year in office. 

“President Trump used the opportunity to take a victory lap for raising taxes of tens of millions of middle-class families, exploding the deficit by $1.5 trillion, and trying to take away health care from Americans struggling to keep up with rising costs. However, he failed to lay out a vision that will unify a country divided by the hate and chaos almost entirely generated by his own actions and words. 

"There was no mention of climate change, gun violence prevention, the sexual assault epidemic, or Russian interference in our elections. Instead, President Trump prioritized policies that will undermine environmental protections, proliferate anti-immigrant hatred, and fail to fix our crumbling infrastructure. 

DTrump

President Donald Trump

“Over the past year, we have seen no legitimate efforts by the President to build bipartisan bridges that lead to compromise and progress. Instead, we have seen reckless decision-making, name-calling, denials, distractions, and an abundance of other impulsive behavior that threatens our national economy, our national security, and our national values. Unfortunately, I remain incredibly doubtful that this Administration will revert course and get us back on track towards a more prosperous, equal, and just nation.” 

Nunes memo
Nunes compiled a Republican authored memo reportedly detailing surveillance abuses by the U.S. government. It is reported that FBI and intelligence officials warn that the memo distorts facts and could jeopardize intelligence-gathering information. 

At a House Intelligence Committee (HIC) business meeting on Jan. 29, Quigley, a member of HIC, asked Nunes a series of questions. They were about the classified memo, which the Majority committee members unanimously voted to release publicly, pursuant to House Rule 10, clause 11(g). 

"QUIGLEY: 'When you, as the majority, conceived of doing this memo for release to the body and to the public, the preparation, the thought of doing it, the consultation of it, was any of this done after/during conversations or consultations with anyone in the White House? 

'Did they have any idea you were doing this? Did they talk about doing this with you? Did they suggest it? Did you Suggest it to them? Did you consult in deciding how to go forward before, during and after this point right now?' 

NUNES: 'I would just answer as far as I know, no.

'And I would also say that we are well aware that the minority has not wanted to conduct this investigation by the public opposition to the subpoenas that we issued back in August that were clearly looking into matters of FISA abuse and other matters.' 

QUIGLEY: 'Mr. Chairman, does that mean that none of the staff members that worked for the majority had any consultation, communication at all with the White House?' 

NUNES: 'The chair is not going to entertain— '

QUIGLEY: 'I yield.' 

NUNES: '—a question by another member.'

QUIGLEY: 'Does that mean just questions you don't like or questions in general, sir? '

NUNES:  Moved to the next member. "

Ranking member of HIC, Adam Schiff from California, wrote a letter to Nunes on Jan. 31, as reported in The Hill. In it, Schiff states HIC's Committee Minority discovered that the memo sent to the White House was not the same document that Members of the House of Representatives have been reviewing since Jan. 18. 

He goes on to demand that the Committee Majority "immediately withdraw the document that it sent to the White House. If the Majority remains intent on releasing its document to the public, despite repeated warnings from DOJ and the FBI, it must hold a new vote to release to the public its modified document. This can be done at the business meeting on Mon., Feb. 5, 2018 when we will move, once again, to release the Minority's responsive memorandum, which House Members have now had the opportunity to read." 

On Jan. 31, Nunes put out the following statement:

“Having stonewalled Congress’ demands for information for nearly a year, it’s no surprise to see the FBI and DOJ issue spurious objections to allowing the American people to see information related to surveillance abuses at these agencies. The FBI is intimately familiar with ‘material omissions’ with respect to their presentations to both Congress and the courts, and they are welcome to make public, to the greatest extent possible, all the information they have on these abuses. Regardless, it’s clear that top officials used unverified information in a court document to fuel a counter-intelligence investigation during an American political campaign. Once the truth gets out, we can begin taking steps to ensure our intelligence agencies and courts are never misused like this again.” 

On Feb. 1, Quigley responded to Nunes with a letter quoting their Jan 29 dialogue and saying… 

"Respectfully, I must disagree with your suggestion that Committee Members cannot pose questions to the Chair.  Moreover, I was particularly troubled by your refusal to answer questions central to the Majority memo’s inception and preparation.  

Answers to them have become all the more urgent and necessary, given President Trump’s well-documented, nakedly political desire to discredit the Department of Justice and the FBI, as well as Russia investigations conducted by the Special Counsel and Congress—along with President Trump’s reported intention to concur in the memo’s release as quickly as possible. 

I thus respectfully request your formal, written response to the following questions: 

  1. At any time, did you coordinate, communicate or consult with any member of the White House staff before, during or after the preparation of the Majority’s classified memo?   
  1. At any time, did any member of your staff—Committee or personal—communicate or consult with any member of the White House staff before, during or after the preparation of the Majority’s classified memo?  
  1. At any time, were you or any member of your staff—Committee or personal—directed, encouraged or influenced by anyone at the White House—including President Trump—to prepare and release the Majority’s classified memo?  

I eagerly await your response to these questions, by no later than the close of business on Monday, February 5, 2018."  

Trump is hopeful that the memo might undermine the Russia investigation, according to CNN. Despite warnings that the facts were not accurate and that the release of the memo could be harmful to US national security, Trump, on Feb. 1, indicated he was leaning toward allowing the memo to be released. 

For a review of the Russian issue, BBC has compiled this information click here.

Photo source: Elaine A. Coorens

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