Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee are planning to build a wall, in the form of a physical barrier, in the Committee’s secure spaces to separate Republicans staffers from Democratic staffers. The construction of the wall is expected to happen this spring.
Several Republican members deny knowing anything about it, while others are suggesting the idea was thought of by Committee Chairman, Republican Devin Nunes. Some members are blaming an ongoing ethics investigation into the entire Republican staff on the committee, even including the person that answers the phone, for alleged leaks.
The Office of Congressional Ethics, the office that would be responsible for conducting such an investigation, reviews allegations of misconduct and, if appropriate, refers them to the House Committee on Ethics. The OCE, as a matter of practice, does not confirm or deny the existence of an inquiry, and so had no comment.
The partition may be a troubling sign of things to come on a committee whose members have grown increasingly hostile to one another in recent weeks, over among other things, dueling memos that each party has written. “The level of trust and the level of everything down there is — it’s poison. It’s absolute poison down there,” is how Rep. Tom Rooney, a Republican member from Florida, described the situation on the committee.
Bipartisanship, he said, “is gone. It’s gone from that committee.”