02:24 GMT29 March 2020
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    The US House Intelligence Committee voted on Monday to release the memo that allegedly proves FBI surveillance abuses against US President Donald Trump during the 2016 election. Democrats and the Justice Department have opposed the memo’s release as misleading, salacious and potentially a threat to national security.

    Brian Becker and John Kiriakou of Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear spoke to Whitney Webb, a left-wing journalist for MintPress News, about the ramifications of this division between Trump and his Republican congressional allies with the FBI and the Democrats.

    ​"What I think [is] that it allows Trump to propagate this narrative that he is at war with the so-called ‘deep state' even though a lot of his policies are very much in line with things that the deep state assumedly want. Things like the drone war, foreign wars — he doesn't have any problem with those sorts of policies. But if he is able to show in some way that this memo means the FBI wants to stop and take him out of office, he can act like the anti-establishment candidate he once was — even though he's not at all an anti-establishment president."

    Becker discussed the backstory of the memo and what it purportedly proves. Compiled by House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), the memo purportedly demonstrates that the FBI acted unethically by surveilling Trump while he was running for president and paying for opposition research to be conducted about him.

    "If all that's true, that would be an overreach of power," said Webb. "We know, from what happened during the Obama administration, there was lots of abuse of FISA courts and surveillance in other ways as well."

    "But that is also something that Trump ironically has sought to continue recently. It was all approved by Congress to extend the NSA spying surveillance powers in a warrantless way. Even though Trump may be shown to have been the victim of an abuse of power through this surveillance system, he's got to continue the same system under his own purview."

    Becker pointed out the irony of so-called leftists defending the FBI, an organization that they have traditionally opposed as overly powerful. Kiriakou agreed, chalking it up to partisan politics warping to the point that the different factions in Washington will ally with anyone to try to deal damage to those outside of their camp.

    Webb opined that she didn't see the memo as the bombshell that some Republicans have treated it as. "Even if it does show major wrongdoing, I don't really think it will change the culture of Washington that allows these agencies like the FBI or the CIA to feel like they can act this way with impunity. I feel like that will most likely continue, whether or not this generates a lot of buzz, or even if what's in the memo ends up being able to be backed by information that they end up releasing."

    "It may just devolve into: ‘oh well, the House Intelligence Committee, the Republicans, they say this is what happened, but we have no proof.' We could hear that from the Democrats potentially if it's just something that the Republicans put together, because the Democrats also put together their own counter-memo that's meant to go against this one."

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    memo, House Intelligence Committee, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Donald Trump, Devin Nunes
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