Republican senator opposes release of House GOP intel memo

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) on Wednesday said Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee should not release a memo alleging abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department if it contains classified information.

"We can't let the politics of the moment cloud our judgment," Kennedy said on CNN's "New Day." "If there's classified information in that memo, it shouldn't be released. If they release it anyway, to be fair, the Democrats ought to be allowed to release their memo."

"My strong preference would be not to have either side put spin on it, go through the original material and try to take out all the classified information," he added. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Kennedy's comments come two days after the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to release a GOP-authored memo accusing the FBI and Justice Department of misusing their authority to obtain a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The Justice Department has warned that releasing the memo, which is said to draw on classified information, would be "extraordinarily reckless" and has criticized the decision to release the memo without first consulting the intelligence community.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE has three days left to review the document to determine whether he wants to block its release.

The release, however, appears imminent, especially after the president was overheard on Tuesday telling Rep. Jeff DuncanJeffrey (Jeff) Darren DuncanHouse votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge Overnight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe House GOP rolls out energy proposal to counter Democrats offshore drilling ban MORE (R-S.C.) that he is "100 percent" behind the release of the memo.

Republicans say the document will shed light on what they allege is a bias within the ranks of the FBI and Justice Department, as well as the questionable origins of the criminal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

But Democrats have argued that releasing the memo amounts to an effort by Republicans to undermine the FBI, discredit the Russia investigation and protect Trump from the probe.