House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, and Democratic lawmakers slammed President Trump after he approved the release of a memo questioning surveillance methods by the FBI during the early stages of the Russia investigation, arguing that he gave up “his constitutional responsibility” by releasing it.
“President Trump has surrendered his constitutional responsibility as commander in chief by releasing highly classified and distorted intelligence,” Pelosi said. “By not protecting intelligence sources and methods, he just sent his friend Putin a bouquet.
"[House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin] Nunes’ partisan spin memo distorts highly classified intelligence in a cynical attempt to discredit our national intelligence and law enforcement agencies and the Special Counsel investigation,” Pelosi argued. “Releasing the memo is a desperate attempt to distract the American people from the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal.”
Pelosi reiterated her call for Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to remove Nunes as chairman of the committee and repeated the FBI's warning against releasing the memo, saying it would be an "extraordinarily reckless" action.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, called the memo a Republican "betrayal of the American people."
"House Republicans are now accomplices to a shocking campaign to obstruct the work of the special counsel, to undermine the credibility and legitimacy of the Justice Department and the FBI, and to bury the fact that a foreign adversary interfered with our last election," the Democratic members of the committee said.
The memo says the dossier compiled by Christopher Steele was used by the FBI as part of the initial request and all three renewal FISA applications against Carter Page, a former adviser to the Trump campaign. The FBI, however, launched its formal investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016 due to the activities of foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos.