The House Intelligence Committee has voted to release a classified memo prepared by Republicans that alleges misconduct by the FBI in the Russia probe.
The three-and-a-half page memo, according to the New York Times, accuses the FBI and the Justice Department of improperly obtaining a warrant from a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court judge that targeted Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Republicans contend that officials should have made the judge aware that they used research from the dossier prepared by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele to obtain the warrant, because that dossier was financed in part by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. The memo also reportedly discloses, however, that deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — who is overseeing the inquiry due to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the investigation — signed off on an application to extend surveillance of Page.
The Justice Department has tried to block the release of the memo, which was prepared by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the committee’s chairman. Last week, assistant attorney general Stephen Boyd sent a letter to Nunes saying releasing the memo to the public would be “extraordinarily reckless.” According to Bloomberg, Trump reportedly “erupted in anger” when he found out about the Boyd letter.
Nunes ”temporarily” stepped aside from leading the Russia probe last April after the House Ethics Committee said they would investigate whether or not he made “unauthorized disclosures of classified information” by speaking publicly about intelligence reports he read at the White House. But although he hasn’t publicly announced he was leading the committee’s Russia investigation again, Nunes has been operating as if he has by issuing subpoenas related to the inquiry, and now authoring the memo. Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois described the Nunes memo to Fox News as “a book report by a high school kid at 1 a.m. on two Red Bulls who hasn’t read the book.”
Trump now has five days to review the document and block it from going public, but it’s all but certain that he’ll let it go public. “Sadly, we expect that the president of the United States will not put the national interest over his own personal interest,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top ranking Democrat on the committee, told reporters after the vote. “But it is a sad day indeed when that is also true of our own committee.”