Senate Intelligence Committee not given access to Nunes FISA memo

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr's staff has not been given access to a classified memo drafted by...

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 3:58 AM
Updated: Jan 25, 2018 3:58 AM

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr's staff has not been given access to a classified memo drafted by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a sign of how closely House Republicans are guarding allegations of Justice Department wrongdoing over surveillance activities in the Russia investigation.

According to three sources familiar with the matter, Burr's staff requested a copy of the memo and has been denied, just as the FBI and Justice Department have also been denied reviewing a copy of the document. The memo is based on highly classified intelligence that only a select group of House and Senate lawmakers have accessed.

Sen. Richard Burr's staff requested a copy of the memo and has been denied

Democrats say that the memo is "profoundly misleading" in its conclusions

Indeed, the memo was drafted by Nunes, R-California, and his staff, as the chairman weighs whether to hold a committee vote as early as next week calling for the memo's public release.

The four-page Nunes memo alleges that the FBI withheld information from the FISA court judge who approved warrants on Donald Trump's team, including former campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, CNN has reported.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Commitee are now pushing for the release of their own memo, calling on the panel to allow the full chamber to review their document next week, saying the Nunes memo is "profoundly misleading" and an attempt to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. But many House Republicans say the American public would be alarmed by the conclusions in the Nunes memo alleging FBI misconduct.

Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, confirmed to CNN that the panel had not been given access to the Nunes memo.

"None of the senators have access to it," Lankford added, saying "right" when asked if the committee had been denied access to the memo after making its request.

This comes as the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee called Wednesday for the public release of the underlying intelligence behind the Nunes memo.

"Based on what I know, I agree that as much of this information should be made public as soon as possible through the appropriate process," said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman.

Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, confirmed to CNN that the panel had not been given access to the Nunes memo.

"None of the senators have access to it," Lankford said.

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have conducted separate investigations over the past year into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump team. The two committees have received many of the same documents each requested by members of Trump's team, though the panels don't typically share information like transcripts of their interviews.

Still, the Nunes memo has generated high interest across the Capitol given the seriousness of the allegations, and prominent senators have shown an interest in viewing the document. Burr's assessment would be significant as he is one of the few lawmakers with access to all of the underlying intelligence.

Burr, R-North Carolina, has kept his public distance from the House investigation and Nunes, particularly Nunes' concerns over the "unmasking" of Trump officials in intelligence documents, as well as the recent dust-up over missing FBI text messages provided to Congress.

Burr declined to comment on the memo or whether he or his staff had viewed the document. Burr said he would not discuss "anything that goes on with what we did or didn't ask for, what we did or didn't get, what we did or didn't conclude."

"It's Devin's memo so you need to ask him what it means. I sort of don't discuss anything that is part of our investigation, so I'll leave it up to him to describe," Burr said.

A spokesman for Nunes did not respond to a request for comment.

Soon the debate over the memo is likely to be fought in the open, as Nunes and the committee's Republicans are preparing to use an obscure committee rule to vote to release it, as well as potentially some of the supporting documents. The committee's vote to allow its release would kick the decision to the President, who is inclined to let it be released, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Trump, an official said, has been briefed by aides on the Nunes memo and the process that it would have to go through in order to be released. If the House Intelligence Committee votes to release the document, Trump has five days to object, according to White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah. During that period, the White House will run a full interagency and national security review and the President will be advised before making a decision, according to Shah.

If the President doesn't object, the document will be released. But if he does, the full House would then be able to vote for its release.

Until that happens, however, it appears that the memo will continue to be guarded from those who don't serve in the House.

The House Intelligence Committee voted last week to allow all House members to read the memo in the committee's secure spaces, but the invitation was not extended to senators.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, who sits on the intelligence committee, was briefed on the memo by Nunes, but did not view the document. And Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky requested to read it and was turned down, according to Paul spokesman Sergio Gor.

"I think there's a lot of concerns about people with conflicts of interest and people who were motivated more by politics than anything else at the FBI and Department of Justice," Cornyn told CNN when asked if he was concerned about what he had been briefed on.

On the Democratic side, the House Intelligence Committee staff briefed their Senate Intelligence Committee counterparts on the memo, according to two sources.

"I have not seen the memo, but I think it is sloppy, careless, and again, I think has no grounding in fact," said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has called the memo a "profoundly misleading set of talking points drafted by Republican staff attacking the FBI and its handling of the investigation."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 149940

Reported Deaths: 3779
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10097104
Hinds9984199
Harrison7116110
Jackson6360119
Rankin5588103
Lee509195
Madison4799106
Forrest383186
Jones357688
Lauderdale3496147
Lafayette326051
Washington3179107
Lamar291550
Oktibbeha245462
Bolivar241384
Lowndes237364
Panola222350
Neshoba2206118
Marshall217250
Leflore205590
Pontotoc199928
Monroe198177
Sunflower191655
Lincoln190865
Warren176857
Tate169851
Union167325
Copiah164140
Pike162658
Yazoo156039
Scott154829
Itawamba152935
Pearl River152167
Alcorn151328
Coahoma150543
Simpson148353
Prentiss146230
Adams141950
Grenada140945
Leake134944
Holmes130861
George125524
Tippah125230
Covington123439
Winston122224
Hancock121139
Wayne117923
Marion116646
Attala113034
Tishomingo109442
Chickasaw107632
Newton105629
Tallahatchie97027
Clay91327
Clarke90553
Jasper82822
Stone77014
Walthall76928
Calhoun75513
Montgomery74525
Carroll72415
Lawrence71814
Smith71316
Yalobusha71327
Noxubee71017
Perry67026
Tunica61019
Greene60322
Claiborne58616
Jefferson Davis57017
Amite54014
Humphreys53619
Benton49318
Quitman4927
Webster44314
Kemper43618
Wilkinson39822
Jefferson35211
Franklin3395
Choctaw3357
Sharkey30917
Issaquena1164
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 244993

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32314500
Mobile19859361
Madison13223148
Tuscaloosa13049154
Montgomery12342236
Shelby1031577
Baldwin873398
Lee775766
Morgan662650
Calhoun6301119
Etowah627666
Marshall627255
Houston525638
DeKalb485536
Cullman439442
Limestone425145
St. Clair419555
Lauderdale407854
Elmore406864
Walker3657111
Talladega351454
Jackson320423
Colbert311942
Blount292240
Autauga273542
Franklin252633
Coffee245415
Dale232654
Dallas226232
Chilton223438
Russell22193
Covington218934
Escambia198331
Chambers176850
Tallapoosa176391
Pike158614
Clarke158419
Marion140236
Winston133023
Lawrence127936
Pickens123518
Geneva12218
Marengo121524
Bibb117917
Barbour117310
Butler116541
Randolph102921
Cherokee102224
Hale97031
Clay91924
Fayette91616
Washington91219
Henry8546
Lowndes79929
Monroe78911
Cleburne77214
Macon73722
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69619
Perry6886
Conecuh68414
Lamar6798
Wilcox63518
Sumter58122
Greene42618
Choctaw42213
Coosa3444
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