Pres­i­dent '100 per­cent' for re­leas­ing GOP memo

Pres­i­dent to de­cide whether to re­lease clas­si­fied memo

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By CHAD DAY and ZEKE MILLER

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was over­heard Tues­day telling a Repub­li­can law­maker he is "100 per­cent" in fa­vor of re­leas­ing a clas­si­fied memo on the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion that has sparked a po­lit­i­cal fight pit­ting Repub­li­cans against the FBI and the Jus­tice De­part­ment. "Oh yeah, don't worry," the pres­i­dent told South Carolina Rep. Jeff Dun­can on the House floor after his first State of the Union ad­dress. "100 per­cent." Dun­can pre­vi­ously im­plored Trump to "re­lease the memo." Tele­vi­sion cam­eras cap­tured the ex­change as Trump was leav­ing the cham­ber.

More about the con­tro­ver­sial memo.

WASHINGTON — The White House said Tues­day it will con­duct a le­gal and na­tional se­cu­rity re­view be­fore Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump de­cides whether to re­lease a clas­si­fied memo about the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion that sparked a po­lit­i­cal fight pit­ting Repub­li­cans against the FBI and the De­part­ment of Jus­tice.

Trump has five days to object to the re­lease of the memo, though he pre­vi­ously sig­naled he wants it made pub­lic. The memo ar­rived Mon­day evening at the White House after Repub­li­cans on the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee brushed aside op­po­si­tion from the Jus­tice De­part­ment and voted to re­lease it.

The four-page memo was writ­ten by Repub­li­cans on the com­mit­tee, led by chair­man Rep. Devin Nunes of Cal­i­for­nia, a close Trump ally who has be­come a fierce critic of the FBI and the Jus­tice De­part­ment.

Repub­li­cans say the memo re­veals im­proper use of sur­veil­lance by the FBI and the Jus­tice De­part­ment in the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Democrats call it a se­lec­tively edited group of GOP talk­ing points that at­tempt to dis­tract from the com­mit­tee’s own in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian med­dling.

On Tues­day, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he sup­ports the memo’s re­lease but doesn’t want Repub­li­cans to use it to at­tack spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller, who is in­ves­ti­gat­ing Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 elec­tion and whether Trump’s cam­paign was in­volved.

“This is a com­pletely separate mat­ter from Bob Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion and his in­ves­ti­ga­tion should be al­lowed to take its course,” Ryan said, not­ing he also sup­ports Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Rod Rosen­stein, who over­sees Mueller.

Ryan said the memo shows “there may have been malfea­sance at the FBI by cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als.” He did not pro­vide ad­di­tional de­tails, only say­ing that “there are le­git­i­mate ques­tions about whether an Amer­i­can’s civil lib­er­ties were vi­o­lated by the FISA process,” a ref­er­ence to the For­eign In­tel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Act.

It’s un­clear how FBI malfea­sance could have solely re­sulted in a judge sign­ing off on a FISA war­rant. Ap­pli­ca­tions for such war­rants are submitted by Jus­tice De­part­ment lawyers be­fore a judge of the For­eign In­tel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Court. Those lawyers would have to au­tho­rize and ul­ti­mately pre­pare any fil­ing that is made.

Ryan’s com­ments came after House Demo­cratic leader Nancy Pelosi said late Mon­day on CNN that Ryan is al­low­ing the re­lease of a “false memo based on a false premise.”

The vote to re­lease the memo is an un­prece­dented move by the com­mit­tee, which typ­i­cally goes out of its way to pro­tect clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion in the in­ter­est of pro­tect­ing in­tel­li­gence sources and meth­ods.

On Tues­day, White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders pushed back on re­ports that the re­lease was im­mi­nent, say­ing the White House has no “cur­rent plans” to do so.

“The pres­i­dent has not seen or been briefed on the memo or re­viewed its con­tents,” she said.

As­so­ci­ated Press pho­tos

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., con­fers with Ma­jor­ity Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., dur­ing a news con­fer­ence Tues­day at the Capi­tol in Washington.

Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chair­man of the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee, strides to a GOP con­fer­ence Tues­day at the Capi­tol.


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