The House Intelligence Committee has their hands full dealing with an investigation and the building of a wall to curb hostilities between Republicans and Democrats.
Things are getting pretty hostile in the House Intelligence Committee, so much so that there are supposedly plans to build a partition between the Republican and Democratic staff members with construction starting in the spring. The idea is attributed to Devin Nunes, committee chairman.
Representative Tom Rooney described the atmosphere in the committee, “ "The level of trust and the level of everything down there is -- it's poison. It's absolute poison down there." Rooney blames the lack of trust on the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) of the alleged leaks, an investigation which includes the “entire Republican staff” all the way to “the woman up front that answers the phone.” The OCE has not denied or confirmed the investigation.
Rooney goes on to say that bipartisanship is “gone from that committee.”
The ranking committee member and Democrat, Rep Adam Schiff, isn’t keen on the idea of building a wall between the committee members. He told CBS news, "We have heard reports that the chairman may seek to erect a 'wall' to divide the staff of the intelligence committee on a partisan basis -- this would be a terrible mistake. 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. This would be a very destructive decision."
A committee spokesman refused to comment on either the wall or the investigation.
While it is not uncommon for House committees to separate the minority and majority staff, the Intelligence Committee is supposed to function bipartisan, and the plans for a wall is a sign of trouble. It places doubts on the committee’s ability to conduct the regular oversight of the country’s intelligence agencies, as well as their ability to finish the “Russian Meddling” investigation. Perhaps, all the partition talk is just another political smokescreen to distract from an ethics investigation, like the one Rooney claims is taking place, which would be far more damaging to the committee's reputation than the building of a wall.