The chairman of the House Permanent Select on Intelligence issued a statement Wednesday dismissing objections from the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the four-page memorandum the committee developed to document FBI abuses during the 2016 political cycle.
“Having stonewalled Congress’ demands for information for nearly a year, it’s no surprise to see the FBI and DOJ issue spurious objections to allowing the American people to see information related to surveillance abuses at these agencies,” said Rep. Devin G. Nunes (R.-Calif.), who has criticized how President Barack Obama’s administration exploited the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor its political opponents.
Nunes said the FBI is well aware of how it has tried to slow-walk the committee’s investigations.
“The FBI is intimately familiar with ‘material omissions’ with respect to their presentations to both Congress and the courts, and they are welcome to make public, to the greatest extent possible, all the information they have on these abuses,” he said.
Although the House intel committee voted Monday to release the memo to the public, the committee’s own rules give the president five days to block a release of committee documents that rely on classified materials.
When President Donald J. Trump left the House chamber Tuesday after his State of the Union address, he told Rep. Jeffery D. Duncan (R.-S.C.) that it was “100 percent” certain that he would approve the memo’s release.
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 31, 2018
Nunes also said that he is concerned that the FBI and DOJ used the so-called “Steele Dossier” to justify its surveillance program. This dossier was crafted by Christopher Steele, a veteran of British intelligence service, as an opposition research file focused on Trump and his suspected links to the Russian government that was paid for by the presidential campaign of Hillary R. Clinton.
“Regardless, it’s clear that top officials used unverified information in a court document to fuel a counter-intelligence investigation during an American political campaign,” Nunes said.
“Once the truth gets out, we can begin taking steps to ensure our intelligence agencies and courts are never misused like this again.”
NEW: Joe Biden Bashes Incoming Trump Administration In Leaked 2016 Call to President of Ukraine
Joe Biden speaks in critical and partisan terms of the incoming Trump administration in a new leaked call to the President of Ukraine unveiled Wednesday.
In the call, conducted in November 2016 a week after then-candidate Trump’s election victory, Biden bashes the incoming administration to the foreign leader, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Biden assails the Trump transition team as incompetent, turning down the idea of visiting the country before the January transition before Trump is “fully briefed” on matters related to Ukraine.
In a second call, Biden asks for Poroshenko to describe his conversations with incoming President Trump, going to to speak of Trump in more dismissive terms. He describes Trump as a “dog who caught the car, and who doesn’t know what to do.” Not quite a “dog-faced pony soldier,” but definitely not an appropriate way for an outgoing vice president to describe an incoming president to a foreign leader.
A Ukrainian comedian originally released the calls, suggesting questionable operational security within the conversations of Joe Biden and Poroshenko. Biden has a lengthy history of ethical questions regarding his relationship with Ukraine, including looking the other way as his son Hunter secured an extremely lucrative position at a Ukrainian oil company without any experience whatsoever in the energy industry.
Biden himself would later go on to demand the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating corruption allegations against the younger Biden, a clear conflict of interest Biden merely dismissed when he spoke openly of securing the prosecutor’s firing at a Council on Foreign Relations public event.
This is a totally inappropriate way for a Vice President to speak to a foreign leader, and the public should be concerned about how Biden plans to conduct diplomacy should he be elected President.
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