Tensions between Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have reportedly become so hostile that GOP members of the committee are planning to build a literal wall separating the two parties' staffers.
In the meantime, many Republicans are speculating that Nunes's embrace of a politically one-sided memo to release classified information - a previously unexploited tactic - may have been the death knell for bipartisanship on a committee that has been politically fractured since its probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections began. Adam Schiff, who also represents a district in California, have been publicly exchanging jabs over the release of dueling memos about the F.B.I. and Justice Department decision to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. While committee Republicans have denied any knowledge of the plan, they intimated that it was conceived by Nunes. "I don't know what they're trying to do one way or the other", Conaway told CBS. The wall, which is expected to be built this spring, would be a physical manifestation of the increasingly partisan fights within the committee. "It's absolute poison." Rooney added that an ongoing ethics investigation into the "entire Republican staff" on the committee over alleged leaks has only added to the pervasive sense of distrust.
"While we have more than our share of difficulties, the important oversight work of the committee continues with our staff working together irrespective of party", Schiff said.
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The wall controversy comes after a year of turmoil on the committee, during which Nunes has been accused of repeatedly seeking to undermine investigations that could be politically damaging to President Donald Trump. "This would be a very destructive decision".
Democrats claim their memo will push back against central allegations of the Republicans' memo. "Just to make sure point by point we rebut what they have asserted, to show the seriousness of the investigation", Swalwell said, also pointing to the fact that the Democratic memo will undergo scrutiny from the DOJ and any information deemed too sensitive for release will be scrubbed as further evidence that it will not impact the investigation in a negative way.
The site says it is paid for by Nunes' campaign committee, and the congressman has shared some CARepublican posts on his Facebook page.