The House Intelligence Committee released a fifty-one-page transcript of a meeting they held on Monday night to vote on whether to release a controversial memo alleging abuses by the FBI.
It shows that Democrats on the committee pushed to have the release of the memo delayed until officials from the FBI and DOJ could have a chance to brief the entire House of Representatives on the potential impact releasing the memo would have on national security.
“There is nothing to be lost by giving the FBI and the Department of Justice a chance to give us their feedback before we take this unprecedented step unless we are afraid to hear what they have to say,” Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the committee said.
The vote on that motion failed by a count of 12-9, along party lines. Democrats voted for the motion and Republicans voting against.
The record also shows that there was a motion to attach the minority’s memo (a memo written by Democrats rebutting the Republican’s memo) to the original memo making them public at the same time. That motion also failed to advance. The committee did however vote unanimously to make the Democrats’ memo available to members of the House.
The transcript reveals that the day before the vote, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy met with FBI Director Christopher Wray and provided him with a copy of the memo. It also reveals that on the day of the vote, and per FBI Director Wray’s request, intelligence committee staff went to FBI headquarters and shared the memo with two senior FBI employees.
The FBI put out a rare statement this morning expressing their “grave concerns” about some of the inaccuracies in the memo.
The dueling memos have become a source of bitterness on Capitol Hill and on the House Intelligence Committee in particular. “I want to begin by expressing my alarm at where we are in this committee. I have served on the committee for ten years now. This is the first time we have sought to declassify highly sensitive information for a political reason. It is, I think, a terrible line to cross,” Rep. Schiff said.
“It is obviously no secret that this [Russia] investigation has introduced a very sharp and ugly brand of partisanship into the committee,” said Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut.
Under committee rules, President Trump has five days from the day of the vote to either approve the publication of the memo or to reject it. The White House has indicated that the president plans to make the memo public.