House intel committee votes to release classified memo
WASHINGTON (AP) — Brushing aside opposition from the Department of Justice, Republicans on the House intelligence committee voted today to release a classified memo that purports to show improper use of surveillance by the FBI and the Justice Department in the Russia investigation.
The memo has become a political flashpoint, with President Donald Trump and many Republicans pushing for its release and suggesting that some in the Justice Department and FBI have conspired against the president.
Privately, Trump has been fuming over the Justice Department's opposition to releasing the memo, according to an administration official not authorized to discuss private conversations and speaking on condition of anonymity.
At the behest of Trump, White House chief of staff John Kelly and other White House officials have been in contact with Justice Department officials in the past week to convey the president's displeasure with the department's leadership on the issue specifically, the official said. In a series of calls last week, Kelly urged the Justice officials to do more within the bounds of the law to get the memo out, the official said.
In the hours before today's vote, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders underscored the administration's position, saying Trump favors "full transparency."
Trump now has five days to decide whether he wants the information released. The panel could release the information five days after the vote if Trump doesn't object.