Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted on Monday to release a classified memo drafted by the panel’s chairman, Devin Nunes, outlining alleged surveillance abuses carried out by top officials at the Justice Department.
The committee’s ranking member, Adam Schiff, called the decision to release the memo “transparently cynical and destructive” in a tweet on Monday night. The Department of Justice’s top congressional liaison, Stephen Boyd, told Nunes in a letter last week that publicly releasing the memo would be “extraordinarily reckless” and urged him to consult with the Department—and, if need be, with its Inspector General—before disclosing it.
Nunes has been conducting a parallel investigation into the FBI and the Justice Department since March 2017, when he first began examining whether top officials improperly “unmasked” and then leaked the names of Trump associates who surfaced in intelligence reports during the transition period. Nunes did not write the three-and-a-half-page memo outlining the initial findings of that investigation—which is ongoing—by himself, however.
Two sources familiar with the matter told me that much of the heavy lifting was done by Kash Patel, a top Nunes staffer and senior committee counsel. Patel previously attracted media attention by traveling to London late last summer—without the knowledge of the U.S. embassy or British government—along with committee staffer Doug Presley in search of Christopher Steele, author of a controversial dossier on Trump.