Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday night accused Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) of unilaterally making changes to the controversial memo before sending it to the White House for review.
Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), who has strongly criticized the memo and warned against its release to the public, penned a letter to Nunes Wednesday night calling out the chairman for making “material changes” to the memo after the committee voted to make it public and therefore deceiving the committee.
The House Intelligence Committee voted on Monday night, along party lines, to release the memo to the public. President Donald Trump now has five days to review the memo and either agree or object to the memo’s release.
The memo, which reportedly purports to prove that top officials at the Justice Department and FBI operated with anti-Trump bias, has pitted Trump and his Republican allies in Congress against Trump’s own Justice Department. The DOJ has warned publicly that releasing the memo would be “reckless” and the FBI said it had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact.”
In his Wednesday night letter, Schiff blasted Nunes for altering the document, calling the move “deeply troubling.’
“Upon our discovery that the document sent for public review had been secretly altered, the Majority belatedly afforded the Minority an opportunity this evening to compare the document transmitted on Monday night by the Majority to the White House with the document made available to all House Members since January 18. After reviewing both versions, it is clear that the Majority made material changes to the version it sent to the White House, which Committee Members were never apprised of, never had the opportunity to review, and never approved,” Schiff wrote in the letter.
“This is deeply troubling, because it means that the Committee Majority transmitted to the White House an altered version of its classified document that is materially different than the version on which the Committee voted. The White House has therefore been reviewing a document since Monday night that the Committee never approved for public release,” he added.
Schiff charged that Nunes’ decision to make the changes without informing the full committee shows that Republicans on the committee no longer stand by the original document and “felt it necessary to deceive” the full committee during Monday night’s vote to release the memo.
Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), a member of the committee, pointed out on Twitter that he asked Nunes during the Monday night vote whether he would release the memo exactly as it appeared that evening. The transcript from the meeting shows Nunes replied in the affirmative.
In a formal meeting, I asked Chairman Nunes not once, but twice, if his memo would be released precisely as we reviewed it. He said yes. Then altered it. pic.twitter.com/vWa1oFz9qX
— Jim Himes (@jahimes) February 1, 2018
Schiff called on Nunes to withdraw the memo from the White House and argued that the committee must vote on the new version of the memo.
A spokesman for Nunes dismissed Schiff’s concerns in a Wednesday night statement, claiming that the alterations were merely attempts to fix grammar and address changes requested by the FBI and Democrats.
“In its increasingly strange attempt to thwart publication of the memo, the Committee Minority is now complaining about minor edits to the memo, including grammatical fixes and two edits requested by the FBI and by the Minority themselves,” Nunes spokesman Jack Langer said in a statement. “The vote to release the memo was absolutely procedurally sound, and in accordance with House and Committee rules. To suggest otherwise is a bizarre distraction from the abuses detailed in the memo, which the public will hopefully soon be able to read for themselves.”
Read Schiff’s full letter to Nunes: