House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff on Friday accused Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes of refusing to say whether his staff consulted or worked with the White House on the Republican memo alleging FBI surveillance abuses.
Schiff, D-Calif., said that makes him suspicious that "the White House may have had a role in the planning of the memo."
Last week, the committee voted to release the Nunes memo, which detailed alleged surveillance abuses by the Department of Justice and FBI against the Trump campaign. This week, the committee voted to release the Democratic rebuttal memo. Trump released the GOP memo last week, and has until Saturday to decide whether to release the Democratic memo.
On Friday, the committee released transcripts from both hearings. The hearing on releasing the GOP memo revealed that Nunes, R-Calif., did not want to tell Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., whether the White House was involved.
“When you, as the majority, conceived of doing this memo for the release to the body and to the public, the preparation, the thought of doing it, the consultation of it, was any of this done after/during conversations or consultations with anyone in the White House?” Quigley asked Nunes during the Jan. 29 meeting.
Nunes replied that he “would just answer, as far as I know, no.”
“Does that mean none of the staff members that worked for the majority had any consultation at all with the White House?” Quigley pressed.
“The chair is not going to entertain a question by another member,” Nunes said.
The transcript from this week's meeting showed a similar conversation happened, as Quigley was pushing Nunes on the same question.
“Whatever the answer is, it is still appropriate to answer if you or any staff member, or any other member of the committee had any communications with the White House as this memo was conceived, prepared and reviewed,” Quigley said in the Monday meeting.
Quigley said he was yielding his time back so Nunes would answer, but Nunes declined, and told Quigley, "The gentlemen has 3 minutes left on the clock.”
“Again, this is the time for us to ask questions. If it is — this is the time to ask and answer. If we are playing this game at such high stakes and you want us to be perfectly candid, I suggest that we all need to be, Mr. Chairman,” Quigley said. “I yield to hopefully get an answer, if not to someone else to try and get one.”
Quigley said he was relinquishing that time, “understanding my futility of asking questions.”