House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday defended the House Intelligence Committee’s vote to release a four-page memo criticizing the Justice Department’s Russia collusion probe, and argued that there “may have been malfeasance at the FBI by certain individuals” that requires congressional oversight.
Ryan, R-Wis., and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., talked to GOP lawmakers about the memo at a closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement.
Ryan told reporters after the meeting that it’s the job of Congress “to conduct transparent oversight and get to the bottom” of possible abuses.
“There is a legitimate issue here as to whether or not American civil liberties were violated by the FISA process,” Ryan said, referring to the secret court that grants intelligence officials permission to spy on people.
Ryan said a memo authored by Democrats on the Intelligence panel that is meant to serve as a rebuttal to the GOP memo will be released to the public after it is screened by the Department of Justice to ensure it does not contain information damaging to national security.
He also said the release of the memo is “completely separate” from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether anyone in the Trump campaign colluded with Russians in the 2016 election.