The House Intelligence Committee voted on Monday evening to release a classified memo circulating in Congress that allegedly reveals government surveillance abuses. The motion passed on a party-line basis.
President Trump will have five days to decide whether he will file any objections before the memo can be formally released.
GOP lawmakers described the four-page memo as “shocking”, “troubling” and “alarming”, with one congressman even comparing the details to the infamous KGB activity in Russia.
Those who have seen the document hint that it reveals what specific role the unverified anti-Trump “dossier” played un the application for a surveillance warrant on at least one Trump associate.
A top Justice Department official urged House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes last week not to release the memo arguing that it would be “extremely reckless” and could jeopardize national security and ongoing investigations.
Top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, California Rep. Adam Schiff said the vote constitutes “a very sad day, I think in the history of this committee.”
Schiff also says that the GOP-majority committee opposed the releasing of a counter memo written by Democrats. Schiff expressed his displeasure and said: “Today this committee voted to put the president’s personal interests, perhaps their own political interests, above the national interests.”
The White House appears to be in favor of the memo’s release, however, it has yet to categorically say if Trump will support the effort. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders merely said: “We want full transparency. That’s what we have said all along.”
Sanders stressed that they would rather allow the process to play out before “officially weighing in.”
The House vote also came on the same day that it was reported that FBI official Andrew McCabe has left his post as deputy director of the agency.
Fox News sources also revealed that BI Director Christopher Wray went to the Capitol on Sunday to view the four-page memo.
South Carolina GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, who was part of the team that drafted the four-page memo, said on Sunday that he wants it released to the public. He also suggested that the memo indeed touches on the issue of the FBI relying in part on the unverified dossier- paid for partially by Democrats and the Clinton campaign team in the 2016 presidential campaign- to apply a secret federal court to get a surveillance warrant, purportedly targeting then-Trump adviser Carter Page.
The dossier was put together by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and contained supposedly damaging information on Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Steele was commissioned to complete the dossier by the U.S. firm Fusion GPS, with funding from DNC and Hillary’s campaign. At about the same time, the firm was alleged to be doing work to help the Russian government fight sanctions.