House Intel Republicans to build a wall separating GOP, Dem staffers: report
Tensions between Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have reportedly become so hostile that GOP members of the committee are planning to build a literal wall separating the two parties’ staffers.
The partition is expected to be constructed this spring in the committee’s secure spaces, according to CBS News.
Some Republican members of the committee said they were unaware of the plans for the wall. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) suggested that the idea came from Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)
“I’m not part of that decision,” Conaway told CBS. “You’ve got to talk to Devin. I don’t know what they’re trying to do one way or the other.”
Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) told CBS that the relationship and trust between Republicans and Democrats on the committee is “poison,” but strongly denied knowing about the wall.
“I swear to God I didn’t know that,” he said.
Rooney added that bipartisanship is “gone” from the committee, and told CBS that part of the reason for rising tensions is because the Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating GOP staff over concerns about alleged leaks. He told CBS that the probe is investigating the “entire” staff, even “the woman up front that answers the phone.”
The report about the wall comes amid the increasingly volatile environment over the released GOP surveillance memo and the still unreleased Democratic countermemo. Nunes and the committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), have been publicly exchanging jabs over the release of the controversial documents.
The GOP memo, released publicly earlier this month, alleges surveillance abuses in the FBI and Justice Department, accusing them of anti-Trump bias. Nunes has said that the committee’s Republicans are still investigating and plan to put together more memos.
The White House is currently reviewing the Democratic countermemo, which reportedly offers evidence disputing claims in the GOP memo and will decide by the end of the week whether to block its release.
Also plaguing the committee is concerns over leadership, as several Democrats have called for Nunes’s removal over the memo controversy, and delays in the committee’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential race.
It was reported that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon will not appear before the committee for an interview despite a subpoena issued earlier this year, as he and the panel negotiate the scope of his testimony.
-Updated 6:38 p.m.