Politics

FISA Memo Not What Trump Says It Is, Some Republicans Say

Memo does not ‘vindicate’ Trump, Gowdy and others say

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., called the FISA memo and the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia separate issues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Key Republican House members rejected the notion that the memo released by the House Intelligence Committee last week “totally vindicates” President Donald Trump, as the president tweeted on Saturday.

GOP Reps. Trey Gowdy, Chris Stewart, Will Hurd and Brad Wenstrup made the Sunday political talk show circuit and agreed the memo is a separate issue from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“I actually don’t think it has any impact on the Russia probe,” Gowdy,  the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“To the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower,” Gowdy said. “The dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos’ meeting in Great Britain. It also doesn’t have anything to do with obstruction of justice.”

The memo, released by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes of California, alleges that a dossier of information compiled by a former British spy and paid for by a political opposition research group opposing Trump’s candidacy in 2016 was a linchpin piece of information that led to a court approving a surveillance warrant of Trump campaign official Carter Page.

But Republicans on Sunday were adamant the memo’s release should not hinder Mueller’s investigation.

“It’s more looking within the agencies, something we have oversight over,” Wenstrup said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“This memo, frankly, has nothing at all to do with the special counsel,” Stewart told “Fox News Sunday,” saying the two were “totally separate issues.”

The political fallout from the memo’s release could jeopardize Republicans’ 2018 legislative agenda, a number of Democrats said over the weekend.

Many Democrats are keeping a keen eye on how Trump reacts to the memo and fear a Watergate-like clearinghouse maneuver at the Department of Justice could throw the country into crisis.

Republicans were calmer, saying the memo and Mueller’s Russia investigation were not closely linked. Many supported the memo’s release and findings while affirming their backing of Mueller.

Gowdy, who announced last week he would not run for re-election, reiterated his support for Mueller’s leadership of the special counsel on Russia, saying he supports Mueller “100 percent.” Though he has seen “no evidence of collusion,” Gowdy will not “prejudge” the investigation, he said.

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