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Oregon lawmakers weigh in on controversial Nunes memo

February 7, 2018
In The News

Lawmakers from Oregon and Washington were quick to respond after a controversial memo from the chairman of the House intelligence committee was made public.

The memo from Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California levels a number of allegations against the FBI and the Department of Justice over their use of warrants obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA, specifically against Carter Page.

Page was a foreign policy advisor for President Donald Trump during part of Trump’s campaign. Supporters of the release of the memo contend it shows that the FBI abused its powers in the investigation into Page, suggesting a political bias against Trump.

Democrats on the intelligence committee, as well as others in both the House and Senate, opposed the move declassify the memo, saying it cherry-picked facts from the committee investigations in an effort to mislead the public.

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley said the release of the memo threatened the ability for the different parts of the government to work together and that it puts the legislature “in extremely dangerous territory.”

"The House Republicans have gone through with their plan to release a highly misleading memo made up of cherry-picked classified information. This puts us in extremely dangerous territory. It upends the relationship between the intelligence community and Congress, threatening the ability for different branches of government to work together to protect the American people's safety. But even more alarming, it shows that House Republicans are willing to go to nearly any length to obstruct the Russia investigation and aid and abet President Trump's attacks on Mueller.

"This is a five-alarm fire for anyone who cares about equal justice and the principle that no one is above the law. The checks and balances envisioned in our constitution only work if Congress is willing to stand up against an unlawful, out-of-control President. Thanks to Devin Nunes and the House Republicans who are putting party above country, we are now teetering on the brink of a constitutional crisis."

Fellow Senator Ron Wyden called the memo a “laughable hack job.”

"It's clear to me that this laughable hack job of a memo was a whole lot of nothing, hyped up to undermine the Mueller investigation.  For weeks we have been talking about this ultimately meaningless memo, rather than the fact that an ever growing number of Trump associates are under indictment. Every member of this administration's national security team should explain whether or not they agreed with the administration's decision to greenlight the use of classified information for nakedly partisan ends, which lays bare the hypocrisy around the argument that pervasive secrecy is necessary for national security."

"However, if my colleagues are serious about their newfound concerns to protect Americans against unnecessary government surveillance, I urge them to rethink their votes last month to expand government spying powers under FISA Section 702. They should bring the USA RIGHTS Act back up for a vote to ensure our government is protecting Americans' rights as well as their security."

The lone Republican representing Oregon in Congress, Rep. Greg Walden from Hood River, said he supported the release “as a matter of government transparency,” adding that he believes the memo raises “serious concerns.”

"When I read this memo two weeks ago I found it very troubling and have supported its release as a matter of government transparency. The memo raises serious concerns about the conduct of officials at the FBI and Department of Justice. I look forward to the House Intelligence Committee's oversight and prompt attention to the issues raised by the document in order to ensure that the American people can have confidence in these important agencies."

Other lawmakers, like Democrats Rep. Suzanne Bonamici and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, took to Twitter to say they saw the memo as nothing but a political attack.

Democrats on the intelligence committee have prepared their own memo in response to the Nunes memo that they say provides more context for the investigation.

They plan to push for its release next week, but that would have to be approved by the president, just as the Nunes memo was.