House Republicans released Friday afternoon a controversial, previously classified memo claiming the FBI and the Department of Justice abused its surveillance powers.
The memo says the FBI and DOJ used evidence from the infamous dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, which alleged ties between Donald Trump and Russia, to attain and renew a FISA warrant for surveillance of former Trump aide Carter Page. It also says the FBI and DOJ failed to disclose Steele’s anti-Trump bias and the fact that the dossier was funded by the DNC and Clinton campaign.
Rep. Bill Keating told Boston Public Radio Friday that the release of the memo, written by House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-California), “is going to cause great damage." He called for the release of the memo prepared by Democrats in Congress that serves as a rebuttal to the GOP memo.
“This is not the typical political fighting that has become too common in today’s Congress and today’s government. This is different,” said Keating, who called the conspiracy the memo implies “absurd.”
Keating said he sees the memo as a way for the Trump administration to undermine the Russia investigation and as a step toward the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his boss, Trump appointee Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “Absolutely that is what it is about. It is about discrediting everything that Mueller might have found,” said Keating.
Keating called for Congress to declassify and release the Democratic memo, which he says would discredit the Nunes memo point-by-point. “If you want to be transparent, why isn’t that released?” he said. “The only conclusion is the real reason behind this is to cut the investigation by Mueller short or to fire Mueller.”
The congressman also warned that the release of this classified memo will have major repercussions in the intelligence community, and may deter other countries from sharing intelligence with the U.S. the future.
“Let’s assume we have an agent of ours embedded in the Middle East. Let's assume they have information. Let’s assume they found something about a friendly country, France, and about a threat to them. We would give that to them, and share that with them even if it risks our agent’s life and our means of getting these sources," Keating said. "What if a member of French Parliament started disclosing those things? You think the U.S. government would trust France again to share that information? That is what’s happening to us here,” said Keating.
To listen to Rep. Bill Keating’s interview with Boston Public Radio in its entirety, click on the audio player above.