Around noon on Friday, President Trump officially approved the declassification of an FBI memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI. The controversial document was released shortly after.
"I think it's terrible. It's a disgrace what's going on in this country," Trump told reporters in regards to the memo. "When you look at that, and you see that, a lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that."
Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. claims that the FBI launched a bias investigation over Trump’s alleged connection with the Russians. The four-page memo was written by Nunes and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. It claims that FBI officials spied on a Trump associate, according to Daily Caller.
"Our findings, which are detailed below, 1) raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and 2) represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses to the FISA process," the memo reads.
Multiple Republicans claim that the memo proves “bias” in the FBI and the Justice Department, according to National Public Radio. According to the Washington Times, the FBI allegedly used Democratic Party-financed opposition research to obtain surveillance warrants without being transparent about it.
The memo names Rod Rosenstein, who overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Some believe the memo’s intent is to discredit that investigation.
The FBI and Justice Department have denied wrongdoing. They are opposing the release of the memo.
The FBI put out a statement, which is rare, in response to the anticipation of the memo’s release earlier this week.
“With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it,” the FBI statement reads. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., is also against the memo’s release.
"The latest attacks on the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests — no party's no president's, only Putin's," McCain has said, according to NPR. "The American people deserve to know all of the facts surrounding Russia's ongoing efforts to subvert our democracy, which is why special counsel Mueller's investigation must proceed unimpeded."
Several Democrats are calling the memo misleading.
Ali Soufan, a retired FBI counterterrorism special agent said that FBI agents are usually Republicans themselves.
“Some of the Republicans attacking the FBI are isolating themselves from otherwise sympathetic FBI agents. It’s no secret that the FBI tends to lean conservative,” Soufan said, according to the Daily Beast. “The few GOP politicians attacking the FBI are, frankly, demagogues. They’re putting party and self-interest above country. They are damaging national security. They unfortunately gave up any moral authority.”
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