WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Tuesday he is in favor of the public release of a memo, which alleges the FBI abused its surveillance tools, but said he is telling GOP House members that there needs to be separation between those allegations and the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“I think because of all the loose political rhetoric floating around here, we need to make sure we explain that there is a separation between these things,” the Wisconsin Republican said. Asked if he was delivering that message to his conference, some of whom have pointed to the memo as reason to disband the special counsel probe altogether, Ryan answered: “Yes.”
But on the memo, which was written by Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, Ryan didn’t hedge.
“I think we should disclose all this stuff. I think sources and methods we’ve gotta protect, no two ways about it for sure, 100%,” he said. “But I think disclosure is the way to go. It’s the best disinfectant. And I think we need to disclose, that brings us accountability, that brings us transparency, that helps us clean up any problem we have with (the Justice Department) and FBI.”
The committee’s vote Monday to release the memo means that the four-page classified document could be made public this week.
The Nunes memo says the FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act over its use of the opposition research dossier on Donald Trump and Russia as part of the case to obtain a FISA warrant for former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page. It cites the roles of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and outgoing Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe in overseeing aspects of the investigation, according to a source briefed on the matter.
Following the vote in the House Intelligence Committee, the White House has five days to decide whether to release the memo. Trump is “very likely” to release the memo detailing alleged surveillance abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department, a source familiar with the President’s thinking told CNN on Tuesday.