House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., is urging the Justice Department and the FBI that the Democrats on the panel be included in determining how the agencies handle a request from Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., to provide materials on potential violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Nadler sent a letter Tuesday after Goodlatte requested on Feb. 1 that the agencies provide information including all correspondence with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and all FISA applications concerning those affiliated with the Trump campaign or the administration; documentation of the FISC hearings and court transcripts; documentation concerning proposed, recommended, or actual FISA coverage on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her associates; among other documents.
Nadler claimed the letter Goodlatte wrote had been issued without any input from the Democrats on the committee and requested that the minority be allowed to contribute to the discussion on how the agencies handle the request.
“Given the sensitive nature of the items requested and the potential for misuse and cherry-picking of any classified information you may provide ... I respectfully request that the Committee Minority be included in any discussions concerning how the Department of Justice and the FBI will handle Chairman Goodlatte’s request,” Nadler said in the letter. “I also ask that, at the appropriate time, you will give the Minority an opportunity to supplement the Chairman’s request so that we can make a full and complete record of events available to our Members.”
Nadler said he is worried GOP lawmakers are using their oversight authority to undermine current federal investigations rather than probe Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Nadler also said the investigations “dovetail with an ongoing effort by President Trump to tarnish the reputation of the Justice Department and the FBI.” He noted that Trump has called special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history” and has said that the FBI’s reputation is “in tatters.”
Mueller's team is investigating whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin during the 2016 election.
“I am troubled by these inaccurate and inappropriate criticisms by the President, and by the impact this barrage must have had on the morale of career personnel at your agencies,” Nadler said.
The letters from Nadler and Goodlatte come after a memo authored by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., was publicly released last week. That memo outlines alleged surveillance violations by the U.S. government.
Democrats have dismissed its contents as nothing more than "talking points" and have complained that the so-called "Nunes memo" is leading to a "false narrative" without the proper context.
House Intel Democrats have composed their own rebuttal memo to the GOP memo. The House Intelligence Committee voted in favor of releasing the Democratic memo on Monday, and it is now up to Trump to decide what will be released and if any redactions will be made.