Ryan: 'There May Have Been Malfeasance...at the FBI'; 'Legitimate Questions' About FISA Abuses

Susan Jones | January 30, 2018 | 10:44am EST
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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) (Photo: Screen grab/Speaker.gov)

(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday listed four points in defense of his fellow Republicans on the House intelligence committee, following their vote yesterday to publicly release a classified memo about the way the FISA process was used in the Trump-Russia investigation.

First, there are legitimate questions about whether an American's civil liberties were violated by the FISA process. We are the legislative branch of government. It is our job to conduct oversight on behalf of the American people of the Executive Branch in case any powers were abused and civil liberties were abused by the Executive Branch. So there's a very legitimate issue here as to whether or not an American's civil liberties were violated in the FISA process. That's point number one.

Point number 2. This is a completely separate matter from Bob Mueller's investigation. And his investigation should be allowed to take its course.

Point number 3. There may have been malfeasance by people at the FBI...So it is our job in conducting transparent oversight of the Executive Branch to get to the bottom of that. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. And so what we want is all of this information to come out so that transparency can reign supreme and accountability can occur.

There's a fourth point I want to make. And that is, the institution of the DOJ, of the FBI, is a very important institution for American life; is a very important institution for keeping the rule of law intact.

Ryan noted that the "vast number of men and women" at the FBI are professionals who do their job well.

"So we want the people of the FBI to know that we respect their job, we respect who they are and what they do. And all the more reason why we need to have transparency and accountability to hold people accountable if they violated the rules, if they acted in a wrong, improper way. And that is what we are doing here."

On other questions, Ryan said he thinks Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is "doing a fine job."

And he said Democrats on the intelligence committee who are complaining about their own rebuttal memo not being released along with the Republican memo are being subjected to the same procedure that the Republicans went through.

First, the committee must vote to release the memo to all House members; then a vote would be taken to release it publicly, depending on what redactions need to be made for security reasons.

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