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Pelosi calls on Ryan to oust Nunes over ‘bogus’ memo

Pelosi calls on Ryan to oust Nunes over ‘bogus’ memo
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House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiLawmakers feel pressure on guns Former Pelosi challenger: I have no 'interest in running for leadership again' Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday urged GOP leaders to oust Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesFive key takeaways from the Russian indictments Shepard Smith: New Mueller indictments prove Russia probe is 'opposite of a hoax' Schiff: 'We're very close to reaching an agreement' with FBI on countermemo MORE (R-Calif.) from atop the Intelligence Committee, charging that his “deliberately dishonest” claims of Department of Justice (DOJ) abuse make him unfit to serve as chairman.

In a letter to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRepublicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms The Hill's 12:30 Report Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan MORE (R-Wis.), Pelosi emphasized that top officials in the DOJ and FBI have repeatedly urged Nunes and House Republican leaders to keep classified a Republican memo alleging surveillance abuse at the agencies, warning that it’s both inaccurate and could reveal federal surveillance methods at risk of undermining national security.

“The decision of Chairman Nunes and House Republicans to release a bogus memo has taken the GOP’s cover-up campaign to a new, completely unacceptable extreme,” Pelosi wrote. “As the Department of Justice warned, the public release of the memo would be an ‘unprecedented action’ and ‘extraordinarily reckless.’”

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Pelosi also referenced recent claims from Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffGOP strategist confronts ex-Trump staffer: ‘I’m sick of you guys making excuses for him’ Shepard Smith goes after Trump for not condemning Russia in tweets Trump: Why didn't Obama 'do something about Russian meddling?' MORE (Calif.), senior Democrat on the Intel panel, who said that Nunes had “secretly altered” the memo prior to sharing it with Trump.

“This action is not only dangerous, it is illegitimate, and violates House rules,” she wrote. “Congressman Nunes’ deliberately dishonest actions make him unfit to serve as Chairman, and he must be removed immediately from this position.”

Her request came just as reports surfaced that President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE is poised to approve the release of the Nunes memo, assembled for the Intelligence chairman by GOP committee staff. It alleges surveillance misconduct by the department amid an ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections. Republicans on the panel voted late last month to publicize the four-page document.

The Nunes memo has sparked a firestorm on Capitol Hill in recent weeks, with Republicans claiming its contents expose a pattern of partisan bias within the FBI that discredit the ongoing investigation into the Russia-Trump connection. Trump, who considers the probe a “witch hunt,” has repeatedly pressed DOJ officials to shut it down.

Ryan has backed Nunes’s decision to make the memo public, while warning rank-and-file Republicans against conflating a connection between its contents and the ongoing Russia probe being conducted by special prosecutor Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE.

“Because of all the loose political rhetoric floating around here, we need to make sure we explain that there is a separation between these things," Ryan said Tuesday.

Ryan, whose office on Thursday declined to comment on Pelosi’s letter, will hold a press conference later in the day in White Sulfur Springs, W.Va., where the Republicans have gathered for their annual issues retreat.

The episode has also exposed divisions between House Republicans and those in the Senate, where members of the Intelligence Committee, including Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Finance: Senate rejects Trump immigration plan | U.S. Bancorp to pay 0M in fines for lacking money laundering protections | Cryptocurrency market overcharges users | Prudential fights to loosen oversight Senators introduce bill to help businesses with trade complaints Our intelligence chiefs just want to tell the truth about national security MORE (R-N.C.), have been denied access to the memo.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneFlake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March The 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework MORE (R-S.C.), a member of GOP leadership, said Thursday the memo should remain classified to allow Burr and the upper chamber Republicans a chance to review it.

“The Senate Intelligence Committee needs to see it, for sure. Sen. Burr would like to see it and hasn’t been able to yet,” Thune said during the GOP retreat.

Nunes had recused himself from the House investigation last April, after the Ethics Committee opened an examination into whether he’d disclosed classified information in the course of the Intelligence probe. The Ethics panel cleared Nunes of any wrongdoing in December, but the episode hasn’t been forgotten by Pelosi.

“Since pledging to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation, Congressman Nunes has abused his position to launch a highly unethical and dangerous cover-up campaign for the White House,” she wrote to Ryan.

--This report was updated at 12:30 p.m.