Rep. Trey Gowdy: Release the Memo; Sen. Lindsey Graham: Don't

By Susan Jones | January 29, 2018 | 7:00am EST
FBI headquarters in downtown Washington (Photo: FBI website)

( - The House intelligence committee meets today amid questions of whether it should publicly release a memo that reportedly shows the Trump dossier was used by the FBI as the basis for launching the Russia investigation.

A top aide to President Trump told "Fox News Sunday" that Trump wants the four-page memo to be released: "It's classified, I haven't seen it," said Marc Short, the White House congressional liaison. "But I think the president generally is on the side of transparency. And so, yes, I think he believes that that should be put out."

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who helped write the memo using documents provided by the FBI, told "Fox News Sunday" he also wants the public to see the memo, but only after the FBI reviews it.

This memo is nothing but a-- a-- the distilling, the reducing of thousands of pages of documents provided to us by the (Justice) department and the bureau. So there's nothing in this memo that the department is not already aware of.

If you think your viewers want to know whether or not the dossier was used in court proceedings, whether or not it was vetted before it was used, whether or not it's ever been vetted. If you are interested in who paid for the dossier. If you're interested in Christopher Steele's relationship with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, then, yes, you'll want the memo to come out.

If you're Adam Schiff (the ranking member of the House intelligence committee), who is consistently wrong when it comes to issues of disclosure -- he didn't want us to find out any of this information, Chris. He -- he fought. In fact...Fusion GPS went to court to keep us from finding out that the Democrats paid for the dossier. So if you're Adam Schiff, of course you don't want the information to come out. You didn't want us to find it in the first place.

This memo answers what I think are really legitimate questions, and I do think the FBI should look at it before -- before it is released. And I have provided that counsel to Chairman Nunes. And I think that he has taken that under advisement.

So I want to play face-off poker. I want the Bureau to know everything that's in the memo. I think you'll be surprised. It is not a hit piece on the department and the FBI. I would not have participated in it if that's what it was.

Host Chris Wallace pointed to reports saying that the memo focuses on the FISA application for a warrant to conduct electronic surveillance on Carter Page, one of Trump's campaign advisers.

Gowdy said he couldn't confirm any of that because the information is still classified.

"I will just ask you again, are you interested in whether or not the world's premier law enforcement agency relied on a work product produced, paid for by the Democratic National Committee?" Gowdy asked.

"Let me ask you this, Chris. If they relied on it half, is that significant enough for the American people to know? If they're relied on it at all, do you want to know that? If you're the judge, do you want to know if a third of what you're providing to the court was paid for by a political opponent?

"So whether they -- whether it was relied upon 80 percent or 20 percent, do you want to know that the Democratic National Committee paid for material that was never vetted, that was included in the court proceeding? Do you want to know whether or not the primary source in these court proceedings had a bias against one candidate? Do you want to know whether or not he said he'd do anything to keep that candidate from becoming elected president?" Gowdy asked.

Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he does not want the memo to be publicly released yet.

The Justice Department also disapproves of releasing the memo without first reviewing it, saying it could compromise methods and sources.

Graham said, "I want somebody outside of the Republican-led Congress to look at these allegations. I'm not asking that Lindsey Graham be the final arbiter of whether DoJ and the FBI was off-base. No, I don't want it released yet. I don't. I want somebody who is without a political bias to come in and look at the allegations that I have seen. I've been a lawyer most of my adult life. And the way the FBI conducted itself and the Department of Justice bothers me.

"That's not to say there is -- that this is -- you should investigate Trump, too. You should do two things. Look at the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the Trump campaign. We can do these things."

Graham said he's bothered by the way two senior FBI agents -- both involved in the Russia investigation and one involved in the Clinton investigation -- conducted themselves. "And a lot of FBI agents are bothered by the way these two agents behaved. But the FBI is the best among us. They're a great organization. They're up there with the military in terms of public approval and respect. Mr. Comey, I think, had his problems. But we'll get to the bottom of all of this.

"Don't lump everybody in together. The FBI is a wonderful organization. But somebody has got to watch those who watch us. The FBI is not above oversight. The Department of Justice is not above oversight. You know, it's not -- you just can't let the organization behave without oversight, whether it's the person you like or not like, it could be you or me tomorrow."

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