The House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines Monday to publicly release a classified memo written by Republicans alleging FBI abuses in the agency’s surveillance, an aggressive move that could feed a GOP push to undercut special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and ratchets up a battle with the Justice Department.
The committee’s vote to release the memo spearheaded by Chairman Devin Nunes means that the four-page classified document could be made public this week. But in another party-line vote, the committee voted against making a competing Democratic memo from Rep. Adam Schiff of California available as well.
The Nunes memo says the FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act over its use of the opposition research dossier on Donald Trump and Russia as part of the case to obtain a FISA warrant for former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page. It cites the roles of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and outgoing Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe in overseeing aspects of the investigation, according to a source briefed on the matter.
Under an obscure committee rule to make the classified memo public, which has never been invoked in the panel’s 40-plus-year history, the President now has five days following the vote to decide whether to allow the public release to move forward or object to it.
The House Intelligence Committee memo was couriered to the White House on Monday evening, according to spokesman Hogan Gidley, and will be reviewed.
The committee did vote to allow Schiff’s memo to be viewed by all House members, the same step that was taken with the Nunes memo earlier this month. But the committee’s Democrats — who charge that the Nunes memo is skewed and is an effort to undercut Mueller’s investigation — say the vote was a political tactic.