News & Politics

FBI's McCabe 'Removed' from Bureau as House Intel Committee Readies Vote on Releasing Memo

Top row from left, Ranking Member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, conduct a House Intelligence Committee hearing. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is expected to vote soon on whether to to release the FISA memo detailing government surveillance abuses, Fox News reported on Monday. Although the Justice Department has come out firmly against the release of the document, a vote could come as early as this afternoon, according to Fox News.  Then it would be up to President Trump to decide whether he has any objections to the explosive memo’s release.

According to Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, FBI Director Christopher Wray went to the capitol on Sunday to view the memo.

According to one source, Wray was asked to point out inaccuracies or other issues with the wording — and said he would need “his people to take a look at it.” The source said the review is ongoing.

FBI official Andrew McCabe was subsequently “removed” from his post as deputy director on Monday, Fox News reported.

A source confirmed to Fox News that McCabe is taking “terminal leave” – effectively taking vacation until he reaches his planned retirement in a matter of weeks. As such, he will not be reporting to work at the FBI anymore.

Some who have seen the four-page classified memo suggest that it reveals the role the unverified anti-Trump “dossier” played in the application for a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Specifically, according to the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross, the memo will reveal that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein renewed a secret surveillance warrant against Page, a New York-based energy consultant, shortly after taking office last April. Page, not surprisingly, is very much in favor of having the FISA abuse memo released to the public.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) provided more clues as to what’s in the controversial document by posing several rhetorical questions to host Chris Wallace.

“If you think your viewers want to know whether or not the dossier was used in court proceedings, whether or not it was vetted before it was used, whether or not it’s ever been vetted — if you are interested in who paid for the dossier, if you are interested in Christopher Steele’s relationship with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, then, yes, you will want the memo to come out,” Gowdy told Wallace.

“Do you want to know that the Democratic National Committee paid for material that was never vetted, that was included in a court proceeding?” he continued.

“Do you want to know whether or not the primary source in these court proceedings had a bias against one candidate? Do you want to know whether or not he said he’d do anything to keep that candidate from becoming president?” Gowdy asked.

The House Intelligence Committee, with thirteen Republican and nine Democratic members, is expected to vote yes on releasing the memo today.

The president will probably decide to declassify the memo so Americans can see what’s in it, a White House official told Fox News on Sunday.

“We don’t know what’s in the memo. But I think the president generally sides on the side of transparency,” said Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director. “I’m sure he’s very concerned about some of the appearances of conflict of interest at the top of the agency.”

The Washington Post published a story earlier in the day stating Trump, who claims Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation continues with no evidence of collusion with Russia, wants the memo released. The DOJ has warned that releasing the memo without a proper review would be “reckless.”

The dossier was compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and contained opposition research on Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Steele was hired by the U.S. firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the research with funding from the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. At the same time, the firm was allegedly doing work to help the Russian government fight sanctions.

“Having read this memo, I think it would be appropriate that the public has full view,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, meanwhile says that committee Democrats will release their own memo, claiming the Republicans’ document “represents another effort to distract from the Russia probe and … seeks to selectively and misleadingly characterize classified information in an effort to protect the president at any cost.”

That memo, one suspects, will be leaked to the media well before any vote or declassification process takes place.

Former congressman and Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz explained why he’s in favor of releasing the memo on Fox news’  “America’s Newsroom” Monday morning.

UPDATE: 7:10 p.m. EST: The House Intelligence Committee voted on Monday evening to release the classified FISA abuse memo on a party-line basis. Republicans on the committee voted against making the Democrat countermemo immediately available to full House.