Capitol Hill Democrats are reportedly working feverishly to prevent release of a controversial memo that purportedly reveals surveillance abuses by the FBI and Justice Department, and they are going so far as to demand that Rep. Devin Nunes be removed as chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
NBC News is reporting that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) have sent letters to House Speaker Paul Ryan calling for Nunes’ replacement. So far, Ryan has apparently not responded.
Pelosi, Schumer and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) reportedly contend that some changes have been made to the memo. Schiff does not want the memo released in any form, according to Fox News, leaving some observers wondering why. Schiff is ranking member on the Intelligence Committee. He sent this Twitter message Wednesday evening:
BREAKING: Discovered late tonight that Chairman Nunes made material changes to the memo he sent to White House – changes not approved by the Committee. White House therefore reviewing a document the Committee has not approved for release. pic.twitter.com/llhQK9L7l6
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 1, 2018
The so-called FISA (for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) memo has been the focus of intense speculation for several days. Many believe it will reveal surveillance during the 2016 presidential campaign, and according to NBC, some Republicans have suggested that the memo reveals FBI “corruption” on a scale “worse than Watergate.” There has also been speculation that the memo will show that special counsel Robert Mueller is on a witch hunt, based on “a fraud.” His investigation is looking into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
The president has steadfastly denied the allegations, and conservative Trump supporters contend that the investigation should really be focused on Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton’s activities during and after she was Secretary of State.
Fox News reported Thursday that President Donald Trump is “expected to swiftly declassify” the memo, which is currently classified.
The president has already indicated he wants the document made public, and some unidentified sources are reportedly hinting that the memo could be released as soon as Friday.
According to NBC, Nunes spokesman Jack Langer has confirmed that the memo did undergo some editing, but asserted that the changes were “grammatical fixes” and that at least two of the edits had been “requested by the FBI and by the Minority themselves.”