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 PelosiDHS chief to Pelosi: Emergency border funding 'has already had an impact' The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Trump faces new hit on deficit MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday urged GOP leaders to oust Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesHouse passes annual intelligence bill Democrats' opposition research got exposed — this time, not by the Russians GOP consultant sued by Nunes asks for help paying legal costs 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 RyanTrump quietly rolled back programs to detect, combat weapons of mass destruction: report Ocasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller 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 SchiffCourt filings show Trump, Cohen contacts amid hush money payments House passes annual intelligence bill Judge finds Stone violated gag order, blocks him from using social media 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 TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade 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 (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump 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 Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders mounts staunch defense of 'Medicare for All' | Biden, Sanders fight over health care heats up | House votes to repeal ObamaCare 'Cadillac Tax' | Dems want details on fetal tissue research ban Top North Carolina newspapers editorial board to GOP: 'Are you OK with a racist president?' Hillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns MORE (R-N.C.), have been denied access to the memo.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP rattled by Trump rally GOP wants commitment that Trump will sign budget deal Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator 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.