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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., right, accompanied by the committee's ranking member, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., talks to reporters, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March, 15, 2017, about their investigation of Russian influence on the American presidential election. Both lawmakers said they have no evidence to back up President Trump's claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Plaza during the 2016 campaign. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

What we know about the #ReleaseTheMemo Memo


There's a controversial House Intelligence Committee memo causing quite the commotion on Capitol Hill that most politicians have not even seen, which has led for calls to release it and keep it secret.

The mysterious memo allegedly shows abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation in the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. A number of Republican lawmakers, some of whom are key Trump allies, have described the memo as "shocking" and "alarming."

"I thought it could never happen in a country that loves freedom and democracy like this country. It is time that we become transparent with all of this, and I’m calling on our leadership to make this available so all Americans can judge for themselves," said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) in a speech on the House floor.

Democrats see it differently, and have expressed some serious doubt over how the Nunes memo portrays the facts.

"It is so pathetically obviously full of misstatements and lies including the very first line which makes references to investigation to which don't exist," claimed Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, while appearing on CNN.

The frenzy over the memo led to the #ReleaseTheMemo trending on social media, possibly with help of some Russian bots.

Speculation surrounding the memo is rampant, but here is what else we know:

The memo contains classified information that the Department of Justice has warned should not be made public without review. Here's what Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, a Trump appointee, said in response to rumors of the memo's release:

"We believe it would be extraordinarily reckless for the Committee to disclose such information publicly without giving the Department and the FBI the opportunity to review the memorandum and to advise the HPSCI [Intelligence committee] of the risk of harm to national security and to ongoing investigations that could come from public release," said Boyd in a letter to the committee.

So far, Nunes has refused to even let the FBI or Justice Department take a look at it. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr was also denied access.


We also know the memo directly names former FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. All three of whom have taken some serious flak from Republicans. It's unclear exactly what the memo says about them.

It appears the memo's eventual release is likely, with or without Justice Department review, considering Democrats reportedly have a memo of their own in the works which they plan to release alongside the Nunes version.

"We need to produce our own memo that lays out the actual facts and show how the majority memo distorts the work of the FBI and the Department of Justice," House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-FL) told the Washington Post.

The calls to release the memo come as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe continues to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mueller is also investigating allegations of obstruction. As Washington speculates about the contents of the memo, there has been even more speculation as to whether or not Mueller will interview Trump

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