(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Earlier today, President Trump decided to release the classified memo apparently prepared by House Republicans in a transparent effort to undermine the Russia investigation. 

Leaving aside the powerful national security objections to release of this memo raised by FBI Director Christopher Wray and Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, the memo transmitted by House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Chairman Devin Nunes was a materially different memo from the one that had been voted on for release by the Committee.

“The memo released today was a Congressional document,” Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) explained.Rule X, clause 11, paragraph (g) permits the HPSCI to release a document to the president after an affirmative vote by the committee to do so. The committee held a vote on Monday that approved the release of a memo, but that memo was not the one released by the President today.”

When confronted with this fact by Rep. Raskin, Vice-Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, today on the House Floor, the Republican Presiding Officer refused to rule on whether or not Chairman Nunes had the authority to release the changed document, and quickly gaveled the House of Representatives out of session.

“Does the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee have the authority to transmit a classified document under House Rule X, Clause 11 (g) that was never approved for release by a vote of the Committee?” Rep. Raskin asked.

The House Presiding Officer refused to answer Raskin’s question. Watch video of the exchange here.

“What was released to the public today by the President was a document that was altered, after the fact, by House Republicans and then transmitted to the President,” Raskin continued. “The House Rules are clear that such a document is only to be released after a vote by the Committee.  A vote on approval of this Memo was never held by the Committee, and therefore it should never have been transmitted to the President or released to the public.”

Congressman Jamie Raskin represents Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, which includes Montgomery, Frederick, and Carroll counties. He is the Vice Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, a Senior Democratic Whip, and Freshman Representative to the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee. He also serves on the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and the Committee on House Administration.  He has been a professor of constitutional law at American University’s Washington College of Law for more than 25 years.