House Intelligence Committee Votes To Make Controversial Nunes Memo Public

On Monday night, the House Intelligence Committee voted to make the Nunes memo public sometime this week, much to the dismay of the Department of Justice and the Democratic party. The secret memo by Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif) has had Washington in an uproar, with the GOP calling for its release.

Allegedly, the memo is evidence that senior FBI and Justice Department officials used data from questionable, partisan sources to justify spying on President Donald Trump's campaign.

Republicans have bemoaned the surveillance abuses of the Department of Justice as a ‘shocking’ abuse of power for partisan politics. The White House has lent its support to the release of the four-page publication, which Republicans say contains information that will cause the Mueller investigation into President Trump's collusion with Russia to fall apart.

The President has been calling the investigation, led by Robert Mueller, a 'witch hunt' from the start.

If the details in the document prove that the FBI did not reveal to a clandestine court that information it used to get a surveillance warrant for the Trump campaign was funded by his political opponents, it could be a game changer in the Russia investigation. The so-called 'Dossier’, compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British spy, was obtained on behalf of and paid for by the on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton presidential campaign.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein approved the application of the warrant, which required probable cause and multiple levels of authentication. Rosenstein also appointed Mueller to lead the investigation.

The Department of Justice has been adamantly opposed to the release of the document, which it says will damage national security. The GOP majority disagreed.

“We’ve taken the position that this is a serious issue that needs to be disclosed to the public,” said Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) in a press conference after the meeting. He says the panel feels confident that nothing in the memo will need to be redacted, nor are there any concerns about it containing information that could put national security at risk.

At the same time, the Democrats proposed drafting a counter-memo for release, which the House Committee voted against. Republican members of the house worried that releasing a memo from the minority party might be damaging to intelligence sources and methods.

The votes to release the Nunes memo and suppress the Democratic party counter-memo fell along party lines.

Dismayed Democrats were outraged over the vote. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), called it a ‘deeply regrettable line in this committee’.

Schiff said that ‘for the first time in the 10 years I’ve been on the committee, there was a vote to politicize the declassification process of intelligence’.

Democrats have dismissed the Nunes memo as misleading talking points, which they say can’t be corrected without also releasing highly classified information that served as a foundation for the document. Nunes has defended his memo and says that it contains only facts.

The document will first go to President Trump for review. The president will have five days to issue a rejection or approval of the publication.

According to Raj Shah, White House deputy press secretary, the DOJ may not be given the opportunity to review the document before its release.

Source: The Hill
Photo: Wikimedia Commons, YouTube

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