DOWN TO THE WIRE: Dems fight back on Republican efforts to release FISA memo as vote looms

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Democrats on Monday stepped up their efforts to prevent House Republicans from revealing the contents of a FISA memo which Republican leaders have referred to as “shocking”.

The contents of the memo, which those who have read claim to be “worse than Watergate”, allegedly details government surveillance abuses against then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and what role the now discredited anti-Trump “dossier” played in the securing a surveillance warrant on at least one Trump associate, Carter Paige. Further, it is alleged that officials who secured the warrant unlawfully failed to disclose that the dossier in question was financed by Democrats.

South Carolina GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, who helped write the four-page memo, said Sunday the American people deserve to see what’s in it.

“If you want to know whether or not the dossier was used in court proceedings, whether or not it was vetted before it was used. … If you are interested in who paid for the dossier … then, yes, you’ll want the memo to come out,” Gowdy told “Fox News Sunday.”

Gowdy, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs, also dropped several hints as to what else may be contained in the document.

“I can’t prove that they were the final decision makers,” Gowdy told “Fox News Sunday.” “But I don’t have to. Two really important people hated (Trump) and would have done anything to protect” (Hillary Clinton).

“Did they have the power to protect her?” Gowdy asked of the FBI’s decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for illegally storing classified emails on a home server during her tenure as Secretary of State. “The decision not to charge (Clinton) was made even before they interviewed her. How would you like that deal?”

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said when asked about the controversy that the issue goes far beyond government surveillance of Trump. What’s worse, he said, is unlawful spying on the American citizen.

“Let the American people decide,” said Napolitano (http://insider.foxnews.com/2018/01/29/judge-andrew-napolitano-calls-release-fisa-memo-documents). “If Congress knew of the alleged abuses of FISA — that’s the government’s ability to spy on us — by the NSA, our domestic spies, and by the intelligence division of the FBI, they might not have expanded FISA the way they did.”

Rep. Rodney Davis said Monday that he, too, is for the memo’s release.

“I am for more transparency. Let’s start with four pages,” Davis, an Illinois Republican, told CNN. “Then let’s talk about releasing more.”

So far, Democrats have fought hard against the memo’s release.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said last week that Republicans on the committee are seeking to “selectively and misleadingly characterize classified information” in an effort to “protect” President Trump.

Calling the memo a “desperate attempt” by Republicans “to distract attention from the Russia probe” Schiff told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Republicans are trying to “put the federal government on trial” by intentionally making “scandalous accusations.”

Former secret service agent Dan Bongino slammed Schiff’s comments during an appearance on Fox News, however, calling Schiff “the slimiest of the slimy in the swamp”.

“This is nonsense. Trump has constitutional rights too… The government was unleashed on him during the Obama years,” Bongino said. “Schiff has lied about this memo multiple times now. He’s deliberately manipulating the American public.”

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is expected to take a vote Monday afternoon to decide whether or not the memo should be released.

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