Yes, House Intelligence Committee Republicans voted Monday evening to release their so-called "FISA abuse" memo to the public, which will happen any day now, after President Trump gives the OK. That was a done deal, given the GOP has a 13-to-9 advantage on the committee. Every Republican voted to make the GOP memo public, while every Democrat voted against it.
But there was also a rare moment of bipartisanship for the bitterly divided panel. At the same meeting, Republicans and Democrats voted unanimously to make the Democratic memo — the counter-memo to the Republican document — available to all members of the House.
That is the same process Republicans, under chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., followed with their memo. First, make it available to House members. (That happened on Jan. 18.) Later, after members of both parties have had a chance to read the memo, decide whether to release it to the public.
More than one Republican told me Monday that they plan to support releasing the Democratic memo to the public after a period of time comparable to the Republican example. (Republicans voted down a Democratic motion to make the Democratic memo public immediately, arguing that House members should have a chance to read it first.)
"Obviously we have gone through the process of letting our colleagues read our memo over the last several days, and I think that when the Democratic memo has gone through the same process, then it should have the same day in court, so to speak," Republican committee member Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., told reporters after the session.
To no one's surprise, ranking Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was the first to make it to the cameras after the meeting Monday. He noted that the committee had voted to make the Democratic memo available to "members of the House that have been misled by the majority's memorandum." But he also spoke in a way that might have led a casual listener to conclude Republicans had voted to keep the memo completely under wraps. At one point he referred to "if and when the majority allows the minority memorandum to see the light of day."
Now that the Democratic memo is available to everyone in the House, it remains to be seen whether Democrats will flock to read the memo as Republicans — about 200 of them — flocked to read the GOP memo. But what is clear is that some Republicans have already taken a look at the Democratic document, and it is, as expected, all about the GOP memo.
The Democratic memo, which like the Republican memo is classified and can only be viewed in a secure room, is an attempt to discredit the GOP document without making any larger point about the Trump-Russia investigation, said Republicans who have seen it.
"It was written by attorneys as a rebuttal to our memo, but it's not going to move their argument forward," noted one Republican member who has read the Democratic paper. "It's too detailed, too confusing, and far more personal — they go after [Nunes] again and again.
The member noted that that Democratic memo contains far more classified information — names and sources — than the GOP paper. "It is much more revealing [of classified information]," he said. "It's going to have to be heavily redacted before it can be released. We wrote our memo with the hope that it would be released to the American people. Their memo will have to be heavily redacted."
Two other GOP members familiar with the memo echoed those points.
For their part, committee Democrats called their memo "a counter-argument to all of the errors and inaccuracies in the majority memo" (Rep. Denny Heck of Washington) and "a mountain of evidence in the Trump-Russia investigation" (Rep. Eric Swalwell of California) and "an accurate rendition of the underlying facts" (Schiff).
It's in everyone's interest for both the Republican and Democratic memos to ultimately become public. Voters deserve to see the best case that Nunes can make versus the best case that Schiff can make. In addition, the public will need to see at least some of the underlying intelligence to be confident that each side is using that intelligence honestly. To some degree, the credibility of the larger Trump-Russia investigation depends on it.