WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of the House late Thursday called for the declassification and release of a “shocking” classified memo that reportedly details abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by senior Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigations officials relating to their investigation of then-candidate Donald Trump (https://saraacarter.com/2018/01/18/a-bombshell-house-intelligence-report-exposing-extensive-fisa-abuse-could-lead-to-the-removal-of-senior-government-officials/).
Appearing on Fox News’ “Hannity” Thursday night, Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz said “there are people who will go to jail.”
“I think that this will not end just with firings. I believe there are people who will go to jail,” Gaetz told host Sean Hannity (https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/01/19/rep_gaetz_people_will_go_to_jail_over_nunes_memo_democrats_afraid_to_release_info.html). “I was very persuaded by the evidence, and it also became clear to me why Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham felt it so important to refer this matter for criminal prosecution.”
“The facts contained in this memo are jaw-dropping and demand full transparency. There is no higher priority than the release of this information to preserve our democracy,” continued Gaetz (R-FL), a member of the Judiciary Committee, which oversees the DOJ and the FBI.
At the center of the issue, say Republicans, are admissions of unlawful spying and the “unmasking” of key Trump associates.
“It’s troubling. It is shocking,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) said in agreement to Gaetz’s comments. “Part of me wishes that I didn’t read it because I don’t want to believe that those kinds of things could be happening in this country that I call home and love so much.”
Yet another Judiciary Committee member, Rep. Steve King (R-IA), took to Twitter to say what he saw in the memo he found “sickening,” calling it “worse than Watergate.”
“I have read the memo. The sickening reality has set in. I no longer hold out hope there is an innocent explanation for the information the public has seen,” wrote King (https://twitter.com/SteveKingIA/status/954194729511636992). ” I have long said it is worse than Watergate. It was #neverTrump & #alwaysHillary. #releasethememo”.
The revelation caused a near immediate uproar on social media, leading to demands for the memo’s release.
The pressure to do so apparently worked, as the House Intelligence Committee shortly thereafter approved, by a party-line vote, to make the four-page memo available to all members of the lower chamber.
Members were not permitted to take copies of the memo for their own review and were restricted to viewing the document in a special room inside the Capital building.
Democrats were quick to fight back against the memo’s release, calling the document “misleading”.
“[T]he Majority voted today on a party-line basis to grant House Members access to a profoundly misleading set of talking points drafted by Republican staff attacking the FBI and its handling of the investigation,” House Intelligence Committee leader Adam Schiff, (D)-Calif., said in a statement. “Rife with factual inaccuracies and referencing highly classified materials that most of Republican Intelligence Committee members were forced to acknowledge they had never read, this 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,” Schiff added.
Republicans lawmakers, however, say there is no way they are going to allow Democrats to sweep this under the rug.
“What are the Democrats so afraid of,” Goetz countered. “Why don’t they want the American people to know the truth about what was going on with the government, how that impacted the president, his transition, his campaign? And it just seems interesting to me that Democrats don’t want us to know what the entire basis was in the first place for the Mueller probe. They want to drag this out through the midterm elections to try to embarrass this president and distract this Congress from the critical work we have to do to save this great country.”
Meanwhile, Wikileaks, the anti-secrecy website responsible for the leaking of hacked DNC emails during the 2016 election, has offered a $1 million reward to anyone who can provide them with a verified copy.