House Speaker Paul Ryan publicly backed the release of a controversial House Intelligence Committee memo, which potentially contains evidence of politically charged government surveillance abuses.
“Let it all out, get it all out there. Cleanse the organization,” Ryan (R-Wis) told Fox News. “I think we should disclose all this stuff. It’s the best disinfectant. Accountability, transparency — for the sake of the reputation of our institutions.”
Ryan made the remarks at an off-record breakfast with anchors and reporters ahead of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.
Though much of the session was off-record, Ryan told reporters on record that “disclosure is the way to go” when it comes to the controversial memo.
“Covering up mischief would be worse,” Ryan added.
The four-page report produced by the House Intelligence Committee was made available to all members of the House on Jan. 18. Since then, Republican lawmakers have pushed for the document to be released to the public. Sixty-five House members signed a letter to the committee calling for the release.
On Sunday, FBI Director Christopher Wray reviewed the contents of the document. A source told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that the contents of the document “shocked him to his core.”
Hours later, on Monday morning, the second highest ranking official at the FBI, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, announced that he was stepping down. McCabe was supposed to retire in March and his early exit indicates he may have been forced out, Sarah Carter, an independent security journalist, told Hannity.
McCabe’s resignation came hours before the House Intelligence Committee voted to approved the public release of the report. Trump has to approve the release within five days and a White House aide told Bloomberg that the memo is being reviewed today.
Lawmakers who have viewed the memo describe its contents as “worse than Watergate” and liken it to a “palace coup.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is named in the memo, according to New York Times. Rosenstein approved an application to surveil Trump associate Carter Page, the Times reports.
That application was based at least in part on an unverified anti-Trump dossier compiled by a former British spy for Fusion GPS and paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. While compiling the dossier, Fusion GPS also received money from the Russian government.
The pending public release of the memo comes at a time of intense scrutiny into the activity of top FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The pair exchanged anti-Trump text messages and discussed an “insurance policy” in the event Trump is elected.
Texts between the couple were first reported missing but later found by the DOJ inspector general. The messages are in the process of being recovered.