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Nunes' FBI memo becomes conservative rallying cry

House conservatives are demanding the public release of a memo spearheaded by Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the H...

Posted: Jan 20, 2018 12:58 PM
Updated: Jan 20, 2018 12:58 PM

House conservatives are demanding the public release of a memo spearheaded by Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, detailing allegations of FBI missteps during the 2016 election -- a move that Democrats say is an effort to torpedo special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign by discrediting FBI work central to his inquiry.

The full House can now see classified intelligence usually reserved for only the handful of lawmakers with the highest security clearance. That access comes after the intelligence panel voted along party lines to let all members read in a classified setting the four-page summary of the Nunes investigation into the FBI and Justice Department's use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. Democrats accused the GOP of hastily allowing members to access intelligence information that even most members of Nunes' own committee did not have access to, saying it presented a skewed version of events.

Republicans claim the report shows rampant FBI abuse during 2016 and misuse of the FISA law

Democrats say Nunes' findings are skewed to help the White House undercut the Russia investigations

But House conservatives who have reviewed the report say the American public would be shocked to learn about what they believe is widespread abuse by the FBI -- and are so dead-set in demanding its public release they called on House Speaker Paul Ryan to release the memo as a condition for supporting a continuing resolution to keep the government open past Friday. Ryan, sources said, deferred to Nunes.

Nunes' investigation into alleged FISA abuses is poised to become the newest battlefront over the FBI, the Department of Justice and Mueller's investigation. While Republicans claim the report shows rampant FBI abuse during 2016 and misuse of the FISA law, Democrats say that Nunes' findings are skewed to help the White House undercut the Russia investigations.

Now conservatives are pressuring Nunes, R-California, to publicly release his findings, an effort that's being led by Republicans who have called for Mueller to be fired and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign.

"The House must immediately make public the memo prepared by the Intelligence Committee regarding the FBI and the Department of Justice," said Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican who has called for Mueller's ouster. "The facts contained in this memo are jaw-dropping and demand full transparency. There is no higher priority than the release of this information to preserve our democracy."

But Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that the memo was a "profoundly misleading set of talking points drafted by Republican staff attacking the FBI and its handling of the investigation."

"Rife with factual inaccuracies and referencing highly classified materials that most of Republican Intelligence Committee members were forced to acknowledge they had never read, this is meant only to give Republican House members a distorted view of the FBI," Schiff said in a statement. "This may help carry White House water, but it is a deep disservice to our law enforcement professionals."

Report release raised in shutdown debate

The Nunes memo entered into the House negotiations Thursday ahead of a looming government shutdown.

In talks between House Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Republican leaders over the continuing resolution that the House passed Thursday, one of Meadows' requests was the immediate release of Nunes' memo, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

Meadows was told Ryan couldn't go around House rules and had to defer to Nunes to go through the process of making the report publicly available, the source said.

"I viewed the classified report from House Intel relating to the FBI, FISA abuses, the infamous Russian dossier, and so-called 'Russian collusion,'" Meadows tweeted Thursday evening. "What I saw is absolutely shocking. This report needs to be released -- now. Americans deserve the truth."

But there's disagreement among Republicans about what should be released to the public. Rep. Pete King, R-New York, who made the motion in the intelligence committee to vote on giving House members access to Nunes' memo, said the summary revealed US intelligence sources and methods that had to be protected before it could be made public.

Conservatives like Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and Gaetz, however, say they want the full memo to be released.

"In the four pages I read, there's absolutely nothing that needs to be redacted," Gaetz said.

Gaetz said he was sending a letter to Nunes for an immediate vote in the House Intelligence Committee, which would be the first step in the process of making the memo public.

Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican leading the House Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation, said Friday that he would support releasing the memo publicly.

"These are serious things that we found," Conaway said.

In addition to Republicans, civil libertarians like the American Civil Liberties Union, Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks are also calling for the memo to be released.

"Officials confirm there's a secret report showing abuses of spy law Congress voted to reauthorize this week," Snowden tweeted, referencing the bill Congress passed to reauthorize FISA's Section 702 dealing with foreign surveillance.

Nunes' memo and the Russia investigations

The push to publicly release the Nunes report adds another layer to the political fight between Democrats and Republicans in Congress over the FBI and Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Russian officials and the Trump team, which is playing out in investigations being conducted by the Intelligence, Judiciary and Oversight Committees.

Republicans accuse the FBI of relying on the opposition research dossier compiled by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, which was paid for by Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee through their shared law firm Perkins Coie.

Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, who hired Steele to investigate Trump and Russia, has argued in now-public congressional testimony Steele's decision to go to the FBI was motivated by national security concerns, not politics.

Nunes' report comes after his push to learn how the FBI and Justice Department used the dossier to investigate the Trump campaign.

After stepping aside from leading the committee's investigation into Russian election meddling, Nunes has run his own effort to push the FBI and Justice Department for documents about the dossier.

He issued numerous subpoenas and threatened to hold FBI Director Chris Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in contempt of Congress for refusing to provide the information he was seeking.

Wray and Rosenstein agreed earlier this month to provide Nunes the documents he had subpoenaed following a meeting in which Ryan told Wray and Rosenstein he was supporting Nunes.

Democrats, however, say that Nunes and like-minded Republicans are trying to use the name of the intelligence panel to push a GOP effort to discredit Mueller.

One source with knowledge of the committee vote said that members hadn't seen the memo before it was presented to them Thursday, and most of the committee members hadn't seen the underlying intelligence to support it.

The memo began by stating that it was a product of the House Intelligence Committee, the source said, which Democrats objected to because they weren't involved in crafting it and were not allowed to offer a dissenting viewpoint.

Conaway said he supported making Nunes' findings available for all House members.

"We came across something that's important enough that we believe all members need to know it, and it would be inappropriate for us to sit on that information," Conaway said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 752108

Reported Deaths: 13816
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033831790
Lake558431013
Allen41736693
St. Joseph37007565
Hamilton36617417
Elkhart29425461
Tippecanoe22938228
Vanderburgh22565400
Porter19369327
Johnson18486389
Hendricks17696317
Clark13233195
Madison13176344
Vigo12631253
LaPorte12429221
Monroe12226176
Delaware10970198
Howard10349224
Kosciusko9643121
Hancock8578147
Bartholomew8174157
Warrick7864156
Floyd7815180
Grant7248179
Wayne7164201
Boone6979103
Morgan6768141
Dubois6224118
Marshall6214116
Cass6024110
Henry5903110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509476
Shelby502396
Lawrence4753122
Gibson445595
Clinton443555
Harrison441775
DeKalb440385
Montgomery439890
Whitley406744
Huntington403381
Steuben400859
Miami395769
Jasper389155
Knox377691
Putnam373461
Wabash362383
Ripley347370
Adams345555
Jefferson336186
White332753
Daviess3035100
Wells295481
Decatur289892
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey274335
LaGrange273272
Scott270356
Clay267148
Washington246336
Randolph245183
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228159
Fountain222048
Sullivan214843
Owen212358
Fulton204043
Jay201032
Carroll193820
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion175344
Franklin170435
Tipton166646
Parke149616
Pike138334
Blackford136232
Pulaski120847
Newton114936
Brown104443
Benton102614
Crawford102516
Martin91815
Warren84115
Switzerland8158
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0424

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109697

Reported Deaths: 20213
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1289521469
Cuyahoga1158802216
Hamilton814201251
Montgomery525861049
Summit484551006
Lucas43384824
Butler39098606
Stark33355930
Lorain25689506
Warren24612305
Mahoning22388602
Lake21219389
Clermont20138253
Delaware18892136
Licking16671225
Fairfield16589204
Trumbull16560483
Medina15618273
Greene15292248
Clark14244306
Wood13296200
Portage13254216
Allen11919239
Richland11611211
Miami10857225
Wayne9153225
Columbiana9039230
Muskingum8909135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8654251
Marion8649139
Erie8058165
Ashtabula7171179
Hancock6999133
Ross6948163
Geauga6850151
Scioto6540106
Belmont6159174
Union585049
Lawrence5741102
Jefferson5683159
Huron5554122
Sandusky5444126
Darke5420129
Seneca5350128
Washington5321109
Athens524460
Auglaize502487
Mercer487785
Shelby477095
Knox4573112
Madison444566
Ashland435997
Putnam4336104
Defiance432399
Fulton432274
Crawford4046110
Brown402761
Logan387678
Preble3859105
Clinton379266
Ottawa373581
Highland360266
Williams348578
Champaign344959
Guernsey325254
Jackson318454
Perry297350
Morrow291940
Fayette285750
Hardin275765
Henry273867
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269360
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220663
Carroll197548
Paulding176642
Meigs148540
Monroe136345
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan110124
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
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