Schiff: Nunes gave Trump ‘secretly altered’ version of memo

Greg Nash

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) claimed late Wednesday that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) shared with President Trump a “secretly altered” version of the Republican-crafted memo alleging abuse of United States surveillance powers by the Justice Department. 

Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the committee, made the claims in a letter to Nunes, accusing the committee chair of making “substantive” changes to the confidential memo before sharing it with White House counsel for release.

Those changes, Schiff said, were not approved by the full committee as protocol dictates. 

“Discovered late tonight that Chairman Nunes made material changes to the memo he sent to White House — changes not approved by the Committee. White House therefore reviewing a document the Committee has not approved for release.” Schiff said in a tweet. 

Trump was expected to announce early Friday his decision on releasing the controversial, classified memo. Schiff’s letter could delay such a decision.

“This evening the Committee Minority discovered that the classified memorandum shared by the Committee Majority with the White House is not, in fact, the same document that Members of the House of Representatives have been reviewing since January 18, 2018 and that the Committee Majority voted on Monday to release to the public, over objections from the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” the letter from Schiff reads.

Schiff goes on to say that after Democrats found the document “had been secretly altered,” committee Republicans offered them the opportunity to compare the memo sent to the White House with the memo that was made public to all House Members.

According to Schiff, after comparing the two versions “it is clear” that Republicans “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.”

Jack Langer, Nunes’s spokesman, said in a statement that Schiff’s letter amounted to another “strange attempt to thwart publication of the memo.”

“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,” Langer said. “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.”

Schiff’s letter comes after the FBI denounced the document in a statement earlier Wednesday, saying it has “grave concerns” about the charges made in the memo.
“As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy,” the bureau said.
Committee Republicans, led by Nunes, voted on Monday to release the document to the public, following a review by White House counsel. The memo purportedly details abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the U.S. government. 
The memo was then turned over to Trump, who is expected to review the document and ultimately decide on whether it is made public.
Committee Democrats have warned that the document is inaccurate, and led by Schiff have drafted their own memo with the intent to counter Republicans’ claims. That memo, however, was voted down when Democrats on the committee attempted to make it public.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schummer (D-N.Y.) called on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to “put an end to this charade” after Schiff sent his letter to Nunes.
“It’s clear that Chairman Nunes will seemingly stop at nothing to undermine the rule of law and interfere with the Russia probe,” Schumer said. “He’s been willing to carry the White House’s water, attack our law enforcement and intelligence officials, and now to mislead his House colleagues. If Speaker Ryan cares about the integrity of the House or the rule of law, he will put an end to this charade once and for all.”  

Updated at 10:58 p.m.

Tags Adam Schiff Adam Schiff Congress Devin Nunes Devin Nunes Donald Trump House Intelligence Committee Paul Ryan White House

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