Maine’s congressional delegation is urging President Trump to proceed with caution as he weighs the release of a classified memo from a U.S. House Intelligence Committee.

Sen. Susan Collins told CNN television host Chris Cuomo that she’s concerned releasing the memo would compromise U.S. intelligence sources and methods. The Maine Republican, who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, also was critical of the House Intelligence Committee’s work, saying it was “very partisan.” Collins also said she had not seen the memo and had no knowledge of what it contains.

Likewise, Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who also serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the memo should not be released without a careful review, and he noted the partisan nature of the report.

The Republican memo is purported to allege misconduct by top officials within the FBI over their handling of an investigation into whether Russian agents collaborated with the president’s election campaign in 2016.

The House committee voted along party lines, with the Republican majority supporting the release and Democrats opposing it on Monday. The Republican majority on the committee also voted to quash a counterpoint memo from Democrats. The Republican memo could be released by Trump after his review.

Collins highlighted concerns in the Justice Department that releasing the memo could compromise sources and methods, “aside from whether or not it’s cherry-picking intelligence – that’s another issue,” she told Cuomo.

She said, instead, the memo should be carefully redacted, at a minimum, if it is to be released. She said dissenting views also should be released, as was the case when the Senate Intelligence Committee issued its own controversial report over allegations of the use of torture in American interrogation of prisoners of war.

“It seems to me that what the House Intelligence Committee ought to do is sit down with the Justice Department, go through the report, see if there are issues that are contested or that would compromise our security and come up with a redacted report,” Collins said. “That’s not as satisfying to the press and the public, but there’s some underlying intelligence that will never be able to be released.”

King told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Tuesday that he believes the president should not release the memo, also expressing concerns about risking intelligence collection methods.

“Here is the problem,” King said. “You can have something that may look innocent to you and I in a report that’s based on intelligence data and our adversaries can reverse engineer that data and figure out how we got it. And that’s why the intelligence agencies are so upset about this and that’s why the FBI said this would be reckless to release it. It could expose sources, people who may be embedded in another country.”

King said the memo could ultimately be released after a careful review and redactions, but also noted the memo was only from Republicans on the committee.

“The other thing that bothers me, this is a Republican staff report,” King said. “It’s not the entire committee.”

A spokesman for Rep. Bruce Poliquin said the Republican representing Maine’s 2nd District wants the memo released, but also suggested redaction.

“Congressman Poliquin has personally reviewed the classified memo and has stated that he believes it should be declassified so the American people can read the contents,” Brendan Conley wrote in an email to the Portland Press Herald. “He wants to make sure our federal agencies are transparent and he is performing his duty as a member of a co-equal branch of government to hold agencies and bureaucrats accountable.”

Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, said she reviewed the Republican memo and the Democratic counterpoint memo on Tuesday and added that if the release was about transparency, then both memos should be made public.

“Republicans should not be making national security decisions in order to politically protect an embattled President Trump,” Pingree said. “As members of Congress, we should always put national security and the American public first in our decision-making, not our political parties.”

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 713-6720 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: thisdog

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.