The FBI is being prevented from seeing a controversial memo that purports to show abuses committed by the Bureau and the Justice Department in obtaining FISA warrants. “The FBI has requested to receive a copy of the memo in order to evaluate the information and take appropriate steps if necessary. To date, the request has been declined,” a spokesperson for the FBI said.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) called the memo, “worse than Watergate.” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) said from the House floor last week that he was “shocked to read exactly what has taken place…I am calling on our leadership to make this available so that all Americans can judge for themselves.
It has been reported that the memo details text messages between two FBI agents that reveal the FBI obtained FISA warrants based on the Steele Dossier, the intelligence report that alleges coordination between the Russian government and the Trump campaign in the presidential election. It’s believed those warrants were used to illegally conduct surveillance on President Trump’s campaign.
But Democrats have called the memo “rife with factual inaccuracies.” The memo is meant only to give “Republican House members a distorted view of the FBI. This may help carry White House water, but it is a deep disservice to our law enforcement professionals,” ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff (D-CA) said.
More than 180 members of the House have seen the memo, and many have called for its release. More than one Republican Senator has been blocked from seeing the memo as well. Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, James Lankford of Oklahoma and John Cornyn of Texas, have all either expressed interest in, or actually tried to gain access to, the memo but have been blocked. Cornyn, however, has received a briefing on it from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), according to reports.
The fact that Republicans refuse to share the memo with the FBI raises suspicions, Democrats say. “If this is about FBI abuses, why wouldn’t they share it with the Trump-appointed director who wasn’t at the bureau when the abuses supposedly occurred?” a congressional aide said.
According to sources, Nunes is participating in talks about the process by which the memo could be released. The release of the memo may be taking a backseat however, to the ongoing negotiations to end the government shutdown, which has entered its third day.