Breaking: House Judiciary Committee Republicans Shut Down Nadler’s Request for Session to Discuss “Nunes Memo” Source Materials

Jan 30, 2018 Issues: Law Enforcement, Russia Investigation, Trump

Washington, D.C. – After Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted to release the so-called “Nunes memo” yesterday, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), today called on Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), to hold an executive session to allow every Member of the House Judiciary Committee to review the original source materials on which that memo is supposedly based in order to understand many of its gross inaccuracies. Republicans shut down this request along party lines with a vote of 16 to 12.

On January 23, 2018, after reviewing the “Nunes Memo,” Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler immediately wrote to Chairman Bob Goodlatte to express his concerns.  The letter to Goodlatte is available here

Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler’s remarks from today, calling for an executive session, are below:

Part One

Before I close, I must make a separate but urgent request. We have reached an inflection point in our politics, Mr. Chairman.  For months, my colleagues and I have urged this Committee to conduct meaningful oversight of the Trump Administration. Across the board, House Republicans have failed in that responsibility. 

Despite the intelligence community’s unanimous conclusion that our last election was compromised by a foreign adversary—and their warning that Russia and others will certainly attempt to compromise our next election—they have taken no action to secure our next election from foreign adversaries. 

The Majority seems not to care that President Trump has tried to pressure all three of his FBI directors to make the Russia investigation go away.  The Majority took the time to trash Deputy Director McCabe in a letter last night—but said nothing about the President’s attempt to fire Special Counsel Mueller, or the President’s hints at removing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, or the President’s months-long, personal attack on Mr. and Mrs. McCabe. 

But before now, we could only say that House Republicans had ignored an obvious, coordinated attempt to protect President Trump by undermining the Special Counsel and the FBI.

Over the past few days, Mr. Chairman, that characterization has clearly changed. Last night, the Intelligence Committee voted to release the so-called “Nunes memo,” a set of talking points written by Republican committee staff and based on highly classified information related to an ongoing investigation. 

They did so over the objection of the Department of Justice, without regard for obvious national security concerns—and without having read many of the documents that the Nunes memo purports to summarize. So House Republicans are no longer simply ignoring an obvious attempt to obstruct the work of the Special Counsel. 

House Republicans are now complicit in an obvious attempt to obstruct the work of the Special Counsel.  They are accessories to it. Earlier this month—at your request, Mr. Chairman—the Department of Justice allowed the two of us to review many of the materials that would put the Nunes memo into context. 

As far as I can tell, you and I are among very few Members to have actually read these source documents.  I should add, Mr. Chairman, that your December 6th letter asking the Department to provide us with these documents cuts against most of your earlier explanations for inaction.  You can ask the Committee to wait until the Special Counsel has finished his work before we talk about Russia, or you can assert our jurisdiction to obtain these documents—but you cannot consistently do both. 

You asked for these documents, the Department delivered, and the investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government are now fair game for hearings and further discussion in this chamber.

Because these documents are critical to understanding many of the gross inaccuracies in the Nunes memo—and because so many Members of this Committee have openly characterized that classified memo in the press, without any firsthand knowledge of the documents on which that memo is supposedly based—it is imperative that every Member of our Committee have access to this material without delay.

I wrote to you last week to ask you to work with me to secure that access. I want to make that case again to you now—but I cannot do so in an open setting.

I therefore move that the Committee immediately move into executive session for further discussion of this topic. If we need to move into a classified setting after that discussion, we can take that step as well. Mr. Chairman, I make the motion that the committee immediately move into executive session for further discussion of this topic.

Part Two

We have been attempting to get a discussion of these matters before this committee, for what, almost a year. We have written repeated letters to you. We have spoken repeatedly. We have asked for full committee access to the FISA materials that you and I have reviewed. We have asked to discuss the interference with the FBI and Special Counsel by the President and others. We have asked to discuss the circumstances surrounding the firing of James Comey. We have asked to discuss the foreign interference in federal elections. We have asked to discuss the many apparent ethic violations of the Administration, including the President’s violations of foreign emoluments clause of the Constitution.

In every case, the Committee has not acted. The Chairman has stated repeatedly that we did not have to act on any of this because the Special Prosecutor was doing the investigation. This was despite the fact that the Special Council actually is limited in his jurisdiction to looking at crimes, while we have the jurisdiction to look at the circumstances and to look at the effects on the country and on the constitution.

We have been stonewalled. We have this memo now from Mr. Nunes, based allegedly on underlining documents, which I can say—having read the underlining documents—it’s totally misleading. We have the release by the intelligence committee of that document. We have other matters and amble reason that this committee must get involved. And this committee now, well at least the Republican Members of this committee, have been alleging various conspiracies and other plots, and I make this motion now, and we can discuss in executive session all the details in why because we have been asking for a long time for this committee to take action, or least to discuss these matter which are in our jurisdiction. The FBI is subject to systematic attack by the Administration. The FBI is within our jurisdiction, not the Intel Committee jurisdiction, or anybody else. The Department of Justice is within our jurisdiction. And I would submit that is our duty to look at the circumstances under which the integrity of the FBI is being maligned and its integrity assaulted.

There is a very serious issue before this country as to the integrity of our public security agencies, and we have to get into that, and I make this motion now to go into executive session to discuss this because we have tried every other means to do so and frankly this is more important than the scaffolding laws, as important as that may to decide.

Watch part one here.

Watch part two here.  

Recent reports show the Trump Administration and its Republican supporters in Congress working to undermine the Special Counsel’s investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government—including placing the FBI Director under so much pressure to fire his Deputy Director that he threatened to resign, accusing FBI investigators of “treason,” and drafting the so-called “Nunes Memo,” a set of talking points drafted by the Republican staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.  

The House Committee on the Judiciary has not yet held a single substantive hearing on this effort to interfere with the Special Counsel.  Judiciary Republicans have also taken no action to address the ongoing threat Russia poses to the U.S. federal election system—despite pledging to do so when adopting the Committee’s oversight plan.