TPM’s Tierney Sneed contributed reporting.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, on Monday said that Republicans on the committee voted to release a memo by House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) against Democrats’ objections.
The document has been released to all members of the House, but will not be released to the public immediately. First, President Donald Trump will have up to five days to review the document and decide whether to make it public, though he could make that decision before that time has elapsed.
White House legislative aide Marc Short on Sunday said that Trump is “inclined” to release the memo, but does not know what it contains.
“I think we have crossed a deeply regrettable line in this committee where, for the first time in ten years or so I have been on the committee, there was a vote to politicize the declassification process of intelligence and compromise sources and methods,” Schiff told reporters Monday evening.
He said he made a secondary motion to have the FBI and Department of Justice “come and brief the entire House in a classified session on both memoranda on the underlying facts and underlying materials so that the committee could make a responsible judgment” before making the document public.
“That motion was voted down by the majority,” Schiff said.
He said the vote to release Nunes’ memo took place along party lines, and that a vote to release a Democratic memo countering Nunes’ document failed, also along party lines.
Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) said that the committee did not vote on releasing the Democratic memo to members, but said he would “absolutely” favor releasing it.
“I think that obviously we have gone through the process of letting our colleagues read our memo over the last several days, and I think that when the Democratic memo has gone through the same process, then it should have the same day in court, so to speak,” he said.
Schiff said that he moved for the transcript of the committee session to “be made available to the public tomorrow.”
“The chair committed that would happen as soon as possible,” he said.
According to Schiff, FBI Director Christopher Wray “asked for the opportunity to come before the committee and express” concerns about releasing the document, but Nunes denied his request.
“I should also mention it was disclosed to the minority today for the first time that the majority opened an investigation of the FBI and the Department of Justice,” Schiff said.
He said Democrats on the committee “learned about that for the first time here today.”
“This is a wholesale broadside against two of our respected institutions,” Schiff said. “We need to be concerned with not just what happens during this presidency, but the lasting damage done to these institutions. Unfortunately, that damage just became all the more greater today.”