President Trump is breaking with Justice Department officials in calling for the release of a classified memo that alleges abuses by the FBI in the execution of FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The DOJ had previously told House Intelligence Chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, the memo’s author, that it would be “reckless” to release the memo without allowing it to review the memo first. The FBI and DOJ have been prevented from seeing the memo by Nunes.
Despite the warning, President Trump has reportedly told Attorney General Jeff Sessions, through Chief of Staff John Kelly, that he wants to see the memo released. A senior administration official says the president believes it will “shed light” on the Russia investigations.
The memo purportedly reveals that the FBI used baseless allegations made in the infamous Steele Dossier to obtain FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.
Roughly 200 hundred members of Congress have seen the memo and there has been a trending social media campaign to make it public. Republican lawmakers who have seen it have called it “worse than Watergate” and “shocking.”
Democrats dispute the notion that it reveals any previously undisclosed information, noting that the memo was written by House Intelligence Committee members themselves in an effort to protect President Trump. They’ve described the memo as being “rife with inaccuracies.”
Democrats on the Committee have written their own memo in response, in an effort to expose the “misleading character of the Republicans’ document,” they say. The House Intelligence Committee is set to vote to release the Democratic memo to the full House on Monday.