House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) warned Republicans they’re “undermining the independence” of the panel’s investigation by “sending over evidence” for Donald Trump to review, according to a transcript of a Feb. 5 committee meeting.
The comment was made during an unclassified meeting about a Democratic counter-memo that aims to refute key points made in a Republican-drafted memo released last week. The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to release the counter-memo after Democrats argued not doing so would undermine the GOP’s calls for “transparency.”
The Republican memo, drafted by a staffer for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), alleged surveillance abuses by the FBI regarding a series of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants issued against onetime Trump aide Carter Page. GOP leaders insist the Nunes memo has no impact on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, though Trump himself declared it “totally vindicates me.”
Speaking to the committee meeting, Swalwell explained “there’s an ongoing investigation,” adding, “I don’t know in what investigation in our country you would want to continue to turn over to subjects and witnesses the evidence against them before their interview.”
“When you send over either a memoranda or a FISA application for review by President Trump or his White House counsel, you are sending over evidence to them for their review that they haven’t seen before,” Swalwell said. “Because no suspect would be given the answers to the questions before their interview.
“So I am just worried that we are continuing to undermine the independence that must occur in an investigation.
Democrats say their counter-memo provides important context to the largely underwhelming “revelations” listed in the Nunes memo. The 10-page memo now goes to Trump, who can choose to redact none, parts or all of the document.
It’s unclear whether that Democratic memo will also ”undermine the independence” of the committee’s investigation.