Nadler On Nunes “Memo”: Another GOP Ploy To Distract From Russia Investigation, Deflect From Inaction To Secure U.S. Elections & Attempt To Discredit FBI & Mueller’s Investigation

Jan 23, 2018 Issues: Law Enforcement, Russia Investigation, Trump

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- 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.

After reviewing the “Nunes Memo,” House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY),  immediately wrote to Chairman Bob Goodlatte to express his concerns.  Today’s letter is available here

Ranking Member Nadler also issued the following statement:

“The Judiciary Committee can no longer be silent while President Trump and his allies attempt to protect themselves by smearing career officials with lies and innuendo.  If Republicans cannot refrain from slandering honest public servants at the Department of Justice and the FBI for partisan purposes, then they should at least work with us to address the attack on our nation that brought us here to begin with.  We should have begun this work at the start of the Congress.  With full knowledge that the Russian government and others will attempt to subvert our next election, the Majority is instead preoccupied with protecting President Trump at all costs.

“Let me as clear as I can be in an unclassified setting:  the Nunes memo is a deliberately misleading document.  I can understand why President Trump, Chairman Nunes, and hundreds of Russian Twitter accounts want to undermine the Special Counsel’s investigation—but I cannot believe that anyone who thinks these allegations are true has actually read the documents on which the memo purports to be based.

“Chairman Goodlatte and I have both read the source materials.  I hope that he will work with me to make those documents available to our full Committee membership and to mitigate the damage done by Chairman Nunes and others.  It is time that we set partisanship aside, let Special Counsel Mueller and the relevant committees do their job, and Congress as a whole should fulfill our responsibility to preserve the integrity of U.S. elections against foreign interference.”

Background: Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have written to Chairman Goodlatte more than 11 times to request oversight hearings related to Russia’s interference with the 2016 election, the firing of James Comey, Sessions’ recusal and related matters. These letters have gone unanswered and House Judiciary Republicans have so far blocked several resolutions of inquiry from reaching the House floor.

On May 16, 2017, all of the Democrats on the Oversight and Judiciary Committees sent a letter to Chairmen Gowdy and Goodlatte requesting that they launch an “immediate joint investigation” into whether President Trump and his top officials were attempting to obstruct the criminal, counter-intelligence, and oversight investigations conducted by the FBI, Department of Justice, and Congress into members of his presidential campaign and their contacts with Russian officials.

On January 9, 2018, House Democratic Ranking Members Eliot Engel, Maxine Waters, Jerrold Nadler, Bennie Thompson, Elijah Cummings and Robert Brady sent a letter to Speaker Ryan urging House Republicans to join Democrats to fully investigate and address Russia’s threat to our democracy and national security.