February 3, 2018
"However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."
~ George Washington’s Farewell Address, September 17, 1796
The People’s House has irrevocably become the
Congress is broken. I fear beyond repair. And it has
extreme repercussions for—and possibly portends
the end of—our republic.
The sanctity of protecting intelligence from being
released was undermined by House Republicans on
the Intelligence Committee when they voted to
release a partisan memo containing classified
Republicans used to be pro-law enforcement.
Republicans used to be pro-Constitution. They no
longer can make that claim.
Yes, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)
needs to be revised. But releasing a clearly partisan
memo of classified-for-a-reason information goes
beyond recklessness. In my opinion, House
Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes
(R-CA) committed treason by pushing for its release.
He will never be charged, however, because the
president has the ultimate power to declassify
information and gave Nunes cover. But it is treason
nonetheless because its release endangers our
republic for a strictly partisan objective—to
undermine the Russia probe. The memo is laughable in its conclusions and structure, but it’s release is anything but laughable.
It is treasonous as well because it further undermines the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution. Our nation’s founders believed in a strong Congress and a weak administrator, fearing a strong president would succumb to dictatorial tendencies. For Nunes to go to war with our Justice Department to protect the president of his party from scrutiny is an unprecedented assault on the Constitution and feeds into President Trump’s dictatorial tendencies.
It used to be that what happened in the Intelligence Committee stayed in the Intelligence Committee. They meet in a basement room that is soundproof and swept for bugs. No phones or other electronic devices are allowed. Intelligence Committee members are briefed on the most sensitive information known to the U.S. government. It used to be that if members of Congress uncovered acts of malfeasance in our government, they passed laws to crack down on it. I have seen no evidence that Nunes is proposing reforms.
Nunes and Trump are the “cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men” Washington warned us about. Left unchecked, they will “usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."
And so will end the great experiment of the United States of America.
McAdams, James G., III. "Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA): An Overview." Accessed February 2, 2018. https://www.fletc.gov/sites/default/files/imported_files/training/programs/legal-division/downloads-articles-and-faqs/research-by-subject/miscellaneous/ForeignIntelligenceSurveillanceAct.pdf.
U.S. Cong. House. Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation . 115 Cong., 1st sess. Rept. February 2, 2018. Accessed February 2, 2018. https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/memo_and_white_house_letter.pdf.
Washington, George. "Founders Online: Farewell Address, 19 September 1796." National Archives and Records Administration. Accessed February 02, 2018. https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/99-01-02-00963.
Tom Pfeifer is the managing partner and chief strategist for Consistent Voice Communications and author of Write It, Speak It: Writing a Speech They’ll APPLAUD! Prior to launching his company, he served as Communications Director for a Republican House member. Reach him at Tom@YourConsistentVoice.com.