Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are drafting a memo to counter the classified House Republican memo, which reportedly contains previously undisclosed information about partisan bias within the FBI and its impact on their investigation into the 2016 election.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the Intel Committee, plans to ask the committee Monday to permit all House members to read the memo, according to The Washington Post.
“We need to produce our own memo that lays out the actual facts and show how the majority memo distorts the work of the FBI and the Department of Justice,” Schiff told WaPo in a telephone interview.
Schiff’s Wednesday disclosure comes days after the Intel Committee voted in favor of granting all House lawmakers access to the long awaited Republican memo detailing partisan bias within the Russia investigation.
While Schiff doesn’t support making either memo public, he said if the GOP memo is released, Democrats must respond by releasing their rebuttal.
Republican leaders are locked in an ongoing battle with the Department of Justice and FBI over whether they can publicly release the memo, which contains information about the infamous Steele dossier among other things.
In a letter sent to Intel Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd said it would be “extraordinarily reckless” to publicize the memo before the FBI had “the opportunity to review the [GOP] memorandum” and inform members “of the risk of harm to national security and to ongoing investigations that could come from public release.”
Lawmakers who viewed the memo, which is believed to allege the FBI mishandled the Steele dossier and improperly obtained Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, called it “alarming” and “disturbing.”
A number of House Republicans have been extremely outspoken in pressing the Justice Department to release the memo. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley questioned the FBI’s motivations behind keeping the document classified Wednesday.
“It sure looks like a bureaucratic game of hide the ball, rather than a genuine concern about national security,” Grassley said.
The House Intel Committee can vote to declassify information, provided President Donald Trump doesn’t move to block the release. But House Republicans are confident they have the president’s support.
“Since it helps the president so much . . . he would be happy if the public knows about it,” Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama said earlier this week.
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