Despite reports to the contrary, Rep. Devin Nunes of the House Intelligence Committee, after meeting over the weekend with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, is considering releasing the now infamous memo detailing abuses of the FISA court in possibly as little as two weeks.
The memo, which has been read by 180 members of Congress as of Sunday, is said to offer a sobering assessment of the details surrounding warrants issued by a FISA judge that allowed the FBI to effectively spy on a Trump adviser, Carter Page.
“The document alleges that the FISA judge who signed off on surveillance warrants for members of Trump’s team during the campaign was not given full information about the dossier that was used in at least one application, including that it was paid for by the Democratic sources, CNN reported Saturday.”
Other reports, citing unnamed Congressional sources, allege the FBI used false claims to apply for FISA warrant. The dossier was written by ex-British spy Christopher Steele while under the employ of opposition research firm Fusion GPS. Payments to Fusion in support of the dossier’s creation came via Hillary Clinton’s personal lawyer and the Democratic National Committee (the same DNC former chair Donna Brazile lamented had been taken over by Clinton prior to the 2016 election).
Reps. Nunes, Goodlatte and Gowdy are making no official statements regarding the memo’s release, but reports are they could use a relatively unknown rule that would allow a simple committee vote to make the contents public once the President has a chance to conduct an independent review.
While the FBI was denied a copy, Nunes, Goodlatte and Gowdy are apparently interested in holding release of the memo until all legislators who wish to read it have a reasonable amount of time to do so.
According to a committee source, no final decision was made on making it public because the three want to give lawmakers “who haven’t read it yet a chance to do so and weigh in.”
If a decision is made for a public release, the timeframe would probably be two to three weeks, the source told the Washington Examiner.
Several Republican lawmakers have publicly claimed the contents of the dossier are disturbing and a violation of ethics at the highest levels of government, while Democrats are downplaying the memo’s contents saying that the release is a partisan attempt to discredit the FBI and protect Donald Trump from what may be uncovered in the Mueller Russian collusion investigation.
“Their only priority is to protect the President and their political fortune, and they’re willing to burn down the FBI and anything else if they need to do it,” said California Rep. Adam Schiff, Democrat lead on the intelligence panel. “It would be a real betrayal of the intelligence community for partisan political reasons.”
Parting question for Rep. Schiff: if the memo is nothing more than a hacky partisan tool, how does it have the power to burn down the FBI?