House Speaker Paul Ryan declined to say if he agrees with President Trump that a memo released by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee “vindicates” him.
In a Saturday tweet, Trump said the memo “totally vindicates” him in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Some Democrats have said the GOP memo — which alleges surveillance abuses at the FBI and Department of Justice — was a means to discredit Mueller’s probe.
"I think because of all the loose political rhetoric floating around here, we need to make sure we explain that there is a separation between these things,” Ryan said of the memo and the Russia investigation during a Jan. 30 press conference.
But when asked Tuesday if he thinks they remain separate, and if Trump was “vindicated,” Ryan changed the topic.
“Let me go back to what I said. This is about [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] abuse and this is about holding our government accountable and this is about Congress doing its job, its conducting oversight over the executive branch,” Ryan said when asked if Trump was vindicated “in any way.”
On Monday, the House Intelligence Committee voted to make public a memo put together by Democrats that they say corrects the “misleading” Republican memo. Now, Trump has five days to allow its release with or without redactions, or explicitly object to it.
The FBI and DOJ will also recommend redactions.
When asked if he supports the release of the Democratic memo, Ryan replied Tuesday: “Republicans on the Intelligence Committee voted to declassify their memo and the Democrats' memo. The Democrats voted against declassifying the Republican memo, but not their memo. So I think what you see here is Republicans are for letting all of this information out there provided that we scrub for sources and methods.”
Two weeks prior, the GOP majority voted to make their memo public, while voting down the Democrats’ motion to make theirs public as well.