WASHINGTON — Three days after the release of the GOP staff memo alleging FISA abuses in the monitoring of Trump campaign adivsor Carter Page, the House Intelligence Committee memo unanimously voted to release a memo from committee Democrats rebutting the GOP document.
The memo now goes to the White House for a five-day review, a national security survey like that for the memo written by staff of Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).
It’s not clear if President Trump, who lauded Nunes on Twitter today as “a man of tremendous courage and grit” who “may someday be recognized as a Great American Hero,” will OK the release of the Democratic memo.
“If that memo is voted out and it comes to the White House we will consider it on the same terms we considered the Nunes memo — which is to allow for a legal review, national security review led by the White House Counsel’s Office, and then within five days the president will make a decision about declassifying it,” White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters.
A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Friday that “if it is scrubbed to ensure it does not reveal sources and methods of our intelligence gathering, the speaker supports the release of the Democrats’ memo.”
A week ago, House Intel Republicans voted to delay the release of the Democrats’ memo. Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told MSNBC tonight that what he thinks changed between now and then was “a week of shaming, essentially.”
“They tried to make the argument publicly that they were taking this extraordinary step, this never-before-used House process to release classified information in the interest of full transparency. And when they’re asked, well, if you want to be fully transparent, why are you stifling the Democratic response? There was no answer,” Schiff said. “So, even the speaker, after a few days of this, was forced to say, we’re going to have to release the Democratic response. So, nothing like shame in this case to get a response. They turned and they voted in favor of this.”
“And I suspect the same problem will be encountered at the White House if they try to prohibit the publication of this response,” he added. “They’ll be subject to the same claims of hypocrisy, not that Sarah Huckabee Sanders isn’t capable of trying to rationalize any hypocrisy. But, with still, I think it’s going to be very tough for them to say no.”
Schiff said that the letter sent to Trump along with the Dems’ memo “urged them to consult with the Department of Justice and the FBI,” as “we want those agencies to report back to us if they have any redactions that are necessary.”
“We asked the Republicans to do the same thing and they refused,” he added.
On Friday, Nunes told Fox News that he had only read through the Democrats’ memo once and “we’re going to have to go through and scrub it again.”
“And let’s not forget: these are the same Democrats who never wanted to start an investigation. These are the same Democrats who blocked our subpoenas, or tried to block our subpoenas back in August. They tried to block our ability to go and get the records from Fusion GPS that led to a lot of discoveries in this investigation,” Nunes argued.
“So these are not honest actors. They know they are not being honest actors,” he added. “And, you know, I get tired of playing whack-a-mole every day with the Democrats on this committee who never wanted to start this investigation in the first place.”
Nunes said he didn’t read the FISA applications referenced in the memo. The New York Times has filed a motion with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to unseal documents related to the monitoring of Page.