President Donald Trump wants the secret memo that details alleged government surveillance abuses released to the public.
What did he say?
According to the Washington Post, Trump last week told Attorney General Jeff Sessions, via White House chief of staff John Kelly, to release the memo, also known as the “secret FISA memo.”
The Post noted that Trump’s directive contradicts the Department of Justice’s position on the matter. The agency has said releasing the classified memo without official review would be “extraordinarily reckless.”
A “senior administration official” who spoke to the Post anonymously said Trump “is inclined to have that released just because it will shed light” on the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation.
“Apparently all the rumors are that it will shed light, it will help the investigators come to a conclusion,” the official said.
When will the memo be released?
According to the Post, Trump’s request was relayed to Sessions. However, the decision to release the secret memo ultimately lies with Congress, specifically the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).
If the committee votes to release the memo, the process will then head to Trump’s desk for final approval, according to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio.).
Still, a GOP congressman said last week that it will take 19 congressional working days to go through the process to release the classified document. All told, that would put its release at sometime in mid-March.
What does the memo show?
News of the memo quickly became one of the hottest stories of the month in the days preceding the government shutdown. Every member of the House has been granted access to view the memo in secure locations, however many — mostly Democrats — have not taken advantage of the opportunity.
The memo allegedly details extensive government surveillance abuses, including evidence the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign and Trump transition through the secret FISA court.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said he was “shocked” to read the four-page memo, according to USA Today.
“I had the opportunity to go into a confidential setting to make sure that we can understand better what actually took place,” Meadows said in a speech on the House floor. “And I’m here to tell all of America…that I am shocked to read exactly what has taken place. I would think it would never happen in a country that loves freedom and democracy like this country.”