Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., split from his House Republican colleagues on Wednesday and said he doesn’t believe GOP lawmakers should release a memo detailing alleged abuses of government surveillance if it contains classified information.
“We can’t let the politics of the moment cloud our judgment,” Kennedy told CNN. “If there’s classified information in that memo, it shouldn’t be released. If they release it anyway, to be fair, the Democrats ought to be allowed to release their memo. My strong preference would be not have either side put spin on it, go through the original material, and try to take out all the classified information.”
Sen. Kennedy on the Nunes memo: "We can't let the politics of the moment cloud our judgment. If there's classified information in that memo, it shouldn't be released. If they release it anyway ... the Democrats ought to be allowed to release their memo" https://t.co/8rrMXRBPBA— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 31, 2018
The House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines Monday to make public a memo composed by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and his staff. The four-page document alleges senior officials in the Justice Department and FBI abused a government surveillance program to obtain a warrant to spy on one member of the Trump campaign, Carter Page, early last year.
Democrats on the panel, led by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., objected to releasing the memo to the public, and called for their own document to be made public. Republicans voted down that effort.
President Trump now has less than five days to object to the memo’s release.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday the White House does not have “current plans” to release the House Intelligence Committee’s memo.
But while leaving the House chamber after delivering his first State of the Union on Tuesday night, Trump was heard telling Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., he will “100 percent” release the memo.
Kennedy said Wednesday he believes Republicans and Democrats should provide the American people with the facts surrounding allegations of anti-Trump bias within the FBI, and resist the urge to “spin” the public.
He also defended the bureau and its employees.
“I see things on the Russia investigation a little differently from my colleagues. I trust the FBI,” Kennedy said. “I think the vast majority of the members of the FBI are apolitical law enforcement, best in the world. Now, some of my colleagues disagree with me. I don’t doubt that there are some political animals over there on both sides. We can’t do damage to the premier law enforcement agency in the world.”