WHITE SULFUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes won support Thursday from a high-profile colleague amid Democratic charges he made last-minute edits to a memo on alleged government surveillance abuse that’s at the center of a D.C. power struggle.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., told reporters at the congressional GOP retreat in West Virginia that he doesn’t believe Nunes substantially altered the memo.
“I believe the document has been very carefully worked, based on pages of source documents,” he said.
After Nunes’ committee sent the memo to President Trump, who is expected to approve its public release, top committee Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff claimed Nunes, R-Calif., made “material changes” to the document — purportedly related to how the Justice Department obtained a court-approved surveillance warrant in the Russia investigation.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Thursday asked House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to remove Nunes from his chairmanship.
But Goodlatte said he’s read the documents and argued that the memo should be released to end speculation about its contents and debate over the committee’s decision to make it public.
“I want the memo to come out,” he said. “That’s the most important thing. It’s not good to speculate.”
Goodlatte said his understanding is that the changes were made only to protect “sources” and “methods,” echoing what other sources have told Fox News.
The FBI has fought the release, though, issuing a statement Wednesday saying they had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
The Russia investigation was taken over last year by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump allies have claimed they’ve found no evidence of collusion with Russia during the 2016 race.
Before Goodlatte spoke Thursday, New York Rep. Peter King, a Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, offered a similar assessment of the editing changes.
“One small part in the memo” was changed, and the change “in no way affects the substance of the memo,” he told CNN.