Collins: GOP memo released without bipartisanship, proper vetting

Collins: GOP memo released without bipartisanship, proper vetting
© Greg Nash

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOn The Money: Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief | Relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority | Senate confirms Biden's picks for Commerce, top WH economist Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Senate Democrats negotiating changes to coronavirus bill MORE (R-Maine) on Friday said that a memo compiled by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee appeared to be released without regard for bipartisanship or proper vetting, despite concerns from Justice Department and FBI officials about the document's accuracy.

"Prior to the release of this memo by the House Intelligence Committee, the Justice Department and the FBI raised serious and genuine concerns about the implications for our national security and stated that the memo omits key facts that ‘fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy,'" Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.

"It does not appear that any redactions or revisions were made to satisfy these legitimate concerns."


Collins's comments came hours after the memo, which claims abuses by FBI and Justice Department officials, was made public following a review by President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE.

The document accuses federal law enforcement officials of misusing their authority to obtain a secret surveillance warrant against Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser. 

But the memo has been the subject of controversy, with Democrats saying that the document amounts to a partisan effort by Republicans to obscure and discredit the ongoing criminal investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Republicans, however, argue that releasing the memo was necessary to shed light on alleged abuses by senior law enforcement officials, as well as the origins of the Russia probe.

Collins suggested on Friday that Republicans' decision to release the memo added a partisan spin on legitimate congressional oversight of the intelligence community and the Russia investigation.

She pointed to the Senate Intelligence Committee's 2012 decision to release a controversial report about the CIA's use of torture on detainees during the so-called war on terror, saying the panel worked closely with the intelligence community to redact sensitive information before the report was made public. She also said senators on both sides of the aisle voted to publish rebuttals from the CIA as well as from Republicans on the committee.

"This model of bipartisanship and careful vetting would have been a far better way to proceed," she said.