House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called for a “cleansing” at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Tuesday morning and supported efforts to release a memo detailing abuses of secret government surveillance programs.
The top Republican in the House and third in line to the presidency made the stunning remarks while speaking with reporters before President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. He urged the FBI and the Justice Department (DOJ) to “disclose” any information they may have on anti-Trump abuse throughout the agency.
Members of the House Intelligence Committee call the four-page memo “shocking” and “alarming,” with one congressman likening the details to KGB activity in the former Soviet Union.
“Let it all out, get it all out there. Cleanse the organization,” Speaker Ryan said. “I think we should disclose all this stuff. It’s the best disinfectant. Accountability, transparency — for the sake of the reputation of our institutions.”
Ryan’s comments come just hours after the House Intelligence Committee voted to release the controversial memo to the public. It purportedly names Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the just ousted FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who has been “removed” from his post at the FBI amid conflicts of interest and ongoing investigations of misconduct.
Mr. McCabe’s removal came just hours before the highly-anticipated vote and only one day after FBI Director Christopher Wray read it. It also comes after Director Wray reportedly reviewed the equally damning report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
It 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.
Worth noting, Mr. Rosenstein last week attempted to convince Speaker Ryan to call off House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who first discovered the abuses.
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.
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.
Democrats such as Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the Ranking Member on the House Intelligence Committee and a notorious leaker, oppose the release of the memo. He and other opponents of disclosure worry that it will do damage to the public trust in these institutions. Schiff called the vote to release the memo a “very sad day I think, in the history of this committee.”
However, Speaker Ryan said “covering up mischief would be worse.”
It’s also worth noting that the memo purportedly exposes Rep. Schiff as one of the players attempting to keep secret the role the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) played in the so-called Steele dossier. Large parts of the discredited piece of opposition research were used as justification to obtain a FISA warrant in the Russia probe.
“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.”