A Republican on the House Intelligence Committee defended the panel’s release of the controversial memo about the FBI’s Russia investigation Friday, even as he acknowledged criticism from Democrats that its contents weren’t “explosive” as some GOP lawmakers had suggested.
Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas told the PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff that he wouldn’t describe the contents of the memo as “explosive.” Instead Hurd, a former undercover CIA officer, said the memo raised questions about whether law enforcement should be able to use “unverified information, circular reporting and rumors” to obtain a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
“I was comfortable releasing this information because, as you’ve looked, none of this damages national security,” Hurd said.
But Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the committee’s top Democrat, said in his own interview with Woodruff that there were a number of “misleading” statements in the Republican memo.
“You can cherry-pick information from any [FISA] application that mislead people and that’s what’s been done here,” Schiff told Woodruff. “The whole point of it is to do damage to the FBI and damage” the probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Schiff and his Democratic colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee have drafted their own memo, which they say gives a more comprehensive view of the underlying intelligence reports. Schiff said he hoped the Democratic memo — which Republicans blocked from being released in a vote earlier this week — would become public soon.
Hurd joined many of his Republican colleagues and voted against making the Democratic memo public. When asked if he would support its release in the future, Hurd said, “Of course, as long as it doesn’t have direct revelations of existing ongoing intelligence, which I think we can take out.”