Democrats who have read the memo say it is a cherry-picked attempt to taint the investigation.
Trump’s Justice Department says releasing it would be “extraordinarily reckless,”
and the FBI expressed “grave concerns about material omissions” that “impact the memo’s accuracy.”
After his State of the Union speech, Trump said he would release the memo, but even senior GOP figures are skeptical.
“I have no confidence whatsoever in what’s going to come out of the House,” says George W. Bush’s former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
“Nunes seems to be part of the Trump team.”
Not all accusations of political bias at the Justice Department are necessarily unfounded.
The department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, is probing potential bias there and at the FBI during the 2016 campaign.
Horowitz is reportedly looking at whether then FBI Director Comey
unfairly handled the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.
On Jan. 30, the Washington Post reported that Horowitz has also been looking at
why Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe waited three weeks to act on a request to examine Clinton emails found late in the presidential campaign.
McCabe has been the target of repeated attacks by Trump and his allies.
Colleagues from both parties defend him, but on Jan. 29, McCabe stepped down.
Attacks on the credibility of the Justice Department are not new.
Bill Clinton’s team hammered special counsel Kenneth Starr for alleged political bias during the Whitewater scandal.
And Hillary Clinton’s allies suggested that right-wing agents at the FBI
were behind the request to inspect the batch of emails that Horowitz is now investigating.
But the climate of distrust, stoked most aggressively by Trump and his allies, is worrying.
The FBI arrests more than 155,000 people each year.
With court approval, investigators monitor suspects, search their homes and otherwise snoop into their private lives if they suspect them of crimes.
Few things are more important to the state of the union than bolstering Americans’ faith that their laws will be objectively and impartially enforced.