The House Intelligence Committee on Monday voted along party lines to release a classified memo detailing abuses of secret government surveillance programs. President Donald Trump, one of the main victims of the most high-profile abuses, now has five days to decide whether he has any objections before the FISA memo can be released to the public.
“We want full transparency,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday. “That’s what we have said all along.”
Republican lawmakers say the four-page memo is “shocking” and “alarming,” with one congressman likening the details to KGB activity in the former Soviet Union. Rep. Steve King, R-Ia., said he has lost all hope that there is an innocent explanation for the abuses.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said the memo details how the investigation into the Trump circle was not done by the book nor justified by evidence. As People’s Pundit Daily (PPD) reported, anti-Trump officials used opposition research known now as the discredited Steele dossier, which was bought-and-paid-for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), in large part to secure the FISA warrant.
“There was no basis at all to conduct this type of investigation in the first place,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said. “Proper procedures were not followed.”
It names Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the just ousted FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who has been “removed” from his post at the Federal Bureau of Investigation amid conflicts of interest and ongoing investigations of misconduct.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, a known leaker and the Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called it a “very sad day I think, in the history of this committee.”
Mr. McCabe’s removal came just hours before the highly-anticipated vote to release the memo and only one day after FBI Director Christopher Wray read it. It also comes after Director Wray reportedly read the equally damning report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
The latter will be the result of numerous investigations into misconduct on behalf of numerous officials, including Mr. McCabe and his former boss James Comey.
Mr. Horowitz said late last week his office “succeeded in using forensic tools to recover text messages” between anti-Trump FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The FBI agent and lawyer were involved in an effort to undermine President Trump before and after the 2016 presidential election.
They discussed needing to talk to “Andy” about an “insurance policy” in the event President Trump defeated Mrs. Clinton, a reference to Mr. McCabe. Subsequent texts and other reports indicate that the insurance was the so-called “Russia collusion” investigation.
Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allows intelligence agencies to collect information on foreign targets abroad, though it has been misused to spy on domestic targets.
Still, the House earlier in January voted overwhelmingly to renew Section 702, even amid revelations of egregious abuses under the Obama Administration. As PPD also previously reported, the Obama Administration admitted at a FISA court hearing on October 26 (2016) that National Security Administration (NSA) intercept database searches “routinely” violated Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.