by Harris Yun – Staff Writer
Recently, a GOP memo was released, accusing the FBI of abusing their authority in the investigation of Russian influence into President Trump’s campaign. The memo by Devin Nunes, a noted Republican, accuses the FBI of inappropriately relying on information from former British spy Christopher Steele, who was working on a project funded in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign, to attain a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, suspected of being a Russian agent.
The memo goes on to argue that the Justice Department, in applying for said warrant, failed to mention that the information was based on Democrat funded research, a potential source of bias. It also mentions Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supported the renewal of the warrant after Trump took office.
It paints a compromising picture of a faulty surveillance warrant, flawed in its conception and application. Indignant, Democrats who reviewed the memo before its release said that details were cherry-picked to support the Republican agenda, according to The Washington Post.
There was much controversy surrounding the memo’s release, the FBI lobbying to keep the memo from being released before it was seen by both the FBI and the Justice Department. According to ABC, the FBI expressed ‘grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy,’ citing these reasons as justification to block the declassification.
As a response, the Democrats have put together their own 10-page memo they say refutes the arguments in the GOP memo by bringing forward details they accuse the Republicans had left out. However, the Republican majority has so far blocked attempts to release the Democratic memo with the GOP one.
The few Democrats allowed to view the memo before release have complained about structural changes to the memo between their review of it and its declassification, but the Republicans have responded by saying the only changes were minor grammar corrections and suggestions by the Democrats themselves; according to the New York Times, they called it strange that the Democrats were trying so hard to prevent the publishing of the memo.
This controversy over the GOP memo is a microcosm of the US government as a whole, representing the growing divide with the FBI and Justice Department on one side, and the White House and the Republican majority of Congress on the other.