When pressed by a Democrat on his committee in a closed-door meeting, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) denied coordinating with the White House on his controversial memo that purportedly reveals anti-Trump bias at the FBI and Justice Department—but sidestepped the question of whether committee staff had White House contacts.
In a newly released transcript of the committee’s Monday meeting, where the committee voted on party lines to release the memo, Nunes was asked about his motivations in assigning his staffers to craft it.
The Trump administration has pushed for the memo’s release, even as his top appointees at DOJ and FBI have made personal pleas and presumably approved of a rare public admonishment against doing so, citing national security concerns.
“Did they have any idea you were doing this?” Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) asked Nunes of the White House. “Did they talk about doing this with you? Did they suggest it? Did you suggest it to them? Did you consult in deciding how to go forward with this before, during, and after this point right now?”
“I would just answer, as far as I know, no,” Nunes replied.
Quigley pressed again for confirmation that “none of the staff members that worked for the majority had any consultation, communication at all with the White House.”
“The chair is not going to entertain—” Nunes replied, before he was interrupted by crosstalk.
He didn’t offer further comment on the issue.
Nunes has insisted that his only interest in getting the memo out is greater transparency. On Wednesday, after the FBI released a public statement asserting that the document’s accuracy is compromised by “material omissions,” he released a statement calling their concerns “spurious.”
The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), countered in a statement that the transcript offered a “revealing and disquieting look into the strategy of Committee Republicans and that of Chairman Nunes in particular as they seek to protect President Trump from the Special Counsel’s investigation and congressional probes.”
Schiff said he would continue to press for the release of the committee Democrats’ 10-page rebuttal to the Nunes memo, which was blocked by their Republican colleagues.
Read the full transcript below.