House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy on Wednesday disputed a Justice Department warning against the release of a memo by Rep. Devin Nunes alleging FBI abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, saying "it's really difficult to say a memo is reckless when you haven't read it."
"To the extent he says that they've seen no evidence of any impropriety or inappropriate conduct during the process, we respectfully disagree," the South Carolina Republican told Erin Burnett on CNN.
"But what that advocates for is the release of non-classified material" in the memo prepared by Nunes, the California Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, and his staff.
"Release it, in an appropriate form, and let the public decide."
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told Nunes in a letter that releasing the document without prior review by the Justice Department and the FBI would be "extraordinarily reckless," according to news reports.
The Nunes memo focuses on the FBI's use of a dossier on Trump and Russia by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, alleging the FISA judge who signed off on the dossier was not given full information about it, including that Democratic sources later paid for it.
Gowdy, who also sits on the Intelligence Committee, told Burnett he has seen the memo and it was "was derived, distilled from information that the Justice Department gave us.
"So, it's not like there is new information. Everything in the memo they already have.
"What they don't know, specifically, is what the complaints are," Gowdy said. "I'm fine to share them with them, but you can't possibly say a memo was reckless if you haven't read it."
However, he does not believe the classified data in the document should be released.
"The president can declassify it," he told Burnett. "My counsel to him is don't do it.
"Do nothing to jeopardize sources and methods. Do nothing to jeopardize the women and men on the Intelligence Committee."
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