The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said he thinks “it’s very possible” that staff of GOP Committee Chairman Devin Nunes “worked with the White House and coordinated the whole effort” to declassify and release a GOP memo alleging abuses of government surveillance powers at the FBI and Justice Department.
“I think it’s very possible his staff worked with the White House and coordinated the whole effort with the White House,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday.
Stephanopoulos asked if such an allegation of coordination could be used to claim an attempt to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation.
Schiff replied, “I don’t know whether members of Congress can be part of an obstruction case … but the president’s use of this, the president’s decision, for example, ‘I’m going to release the memo even though the FBI says it’s inaccurate, even though the Department of Justice says it’s reckless’ … That could be evidence of the president’s intent to interfere with the investigation.”
Nunes, a Republican from California, asserted in a Fox News interview that there was no coordination between his committee and the Trump administration.
When Fox News’ Bret Baier asked Nunes on Friday, “Did you or anyone on your committee coordinate in any way with President Trump or the administration on the release of this memo? Or with the structure of this memo?,” the congressman responded, “No.” Nunes added that his committee began investigating possible abuse of surveillance powers by the intelligence community months ago, in summer 2017.
Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday asked Schiff about Nunes’ denial. The Democratic representative noted that the Republican chairman had not made the same assertion about there being no coordination while in committee.
“There’s a reason I think he wouldn’t answer that question in committee,” Schiff said.
Schiff continued that the release of the memo, “looks so much like this earlier effort, which we know was coordinated with the White House by the same chairman.”
Schiff was referring to when Nunes was on White House grounds March 21 to view information related to surveillance connected to the Russia probe.
The four-page memo alleging abuses of government surveillance powers was written by Republican staff of the House Intelligence Committee. The memo was made public Friday after Trump declassified the document and despite the FBI’s expressing “grave concerns” about its release.