WH reviewing classified GOP memo alleging surveillance abuse


WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House said today it will conduct a legal and national security review before President Donald Trump decides whether to release a classified memo on the Russia investigation that has sparked a political firestorm pitting Republicans against the FBI and the Department of Justice.

Trump has five days to object to the release of the memo, though he has signaled he wants it made public. The memo arrived at the White House Monday evening after Republicans on the House intelligence committee brushed aside opposition from the Justice Department and voted to release the memo, which allegedly shows improper use of surveillance by the FBI and the Justice Department in the Russia investigation.

The four-page memo has become a political flashpoint, with Trump and many Republicans pushing for its release and suggesting that some in the Justice Department and FBI have conspired against the president.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said today the memo shows "there may have been malfeasance at the FBI by certain individuals," as he voiced his support for releasing the memo in the interest of transparency. He did not provide additional details, only saying "there are legitimate questions about whether an American's civil liberties were violated by the FISA process," a reference to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

It's unclear how FBI malfeasance could have solely resulted in a judge signing off on a FISA warrant. Applications for such warrants are submitted by Justice Department lawyers before a judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Those lawyers would have to authorize and ultimately prepare any filing that is made.

Ryan's comments came after House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said late Monday on CNN that Ryan is allowing the release of a "false memo based on a false premise."

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