Ryan supports release of Democrats’ countermemo
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) supports the release of a Democrat-drafted memo countering a GOP memo that reportedly alleges surveillance abuses at the Department of Justice.
“The speaker is in favor of greater transparency. 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,” Ryan’s spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, told The Hill on Friday.
The House Intelligence Committee voted on Monday to make the Republican-drafted memo public, while members voted to not release the Democrats’ memo.
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee had expressed concerns that the countermemo would undermine sensitive intelligence sources and methods, according to the committee’s ranking member, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
Schiff referred to the votes as “a deeply regrettable line in this committee, where for the first time in the 10 years I’ve been on the committee, there was a vote to politicize the declassification process of intelligence.”
The minority faces an uphill battle in releasing their countermemo, which Schiff says “sets out the proper context.”
The GOP-memo, which was spearheaded by committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), has been criticized by Democrats as an attempt to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling, which includes any possible ties between President Trump’s campaign and Moscow.
A senior administration official has told The Hill that Trump has read the memo and could sign off on its publication as early as Friday.
The intelligence community has also spoken out against the publication of the GOP memo, saying the information is misleading and could reveal sensitive intelligence sources and methods.
Nunes has called the objections “spurious.”
Schiff on Wednesday accused Nunes of altering the memo after the committee had approved its release.
Nunes said he simply made grammatical changes and additions requested by the FBI and the Democrats.
Ryan cautioned Republicans on the committee on Friday not to overplay the document’s findings and not to tie it to the special counsel’s probe.
“What this is not is an indictment on our institutions, of our justice system. This memo is not an indictment of the FBI, of the Department of Justice. It does not impugn [Mueller’s] investigation or the deputy attorney general,” Ryan said.