[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 19 (Monday, January 29, 2018)]
[Pages H657-H661]

                       RELEASE THE FOUR-PAGE MEMO

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2017, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Gaetz) is recognized 
for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, I come to the House this evening with several 
of my colleagues principally to thank Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob 
Goodlatte, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey 
Gowdy, and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin 
Nunes for their tireless pursuit of the truth.
  There is a four-page memo. I have read it. Over 190 of my Republican 
colleagues have read it. Some Democrats have read it, and some have 
boycotted reading it. It details circumstances that are deeply 
troubling to me and that I believe will be deeply troubling to many 
  This memo encapsulates an entire year of work by these committees and 
by these committee chairmen, and they are to be commended for the 
excellent job that they have done, for the professionalism that they 
have undertaken, and for the stunning facts that they have uncovered 
that will soon be available for the American people.
  I will have more to say on this throughout the hour, Mr. Speaker, but 
first I yield to one of my colleagues in the Congress who was one of 
the first and loudest voices calling for transparency at the highest 
levels and to the maximum extent possible.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Zeldin).
  Mr. ZELDIN. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Gaetz for organizing this 
important Special Order and all my colleagues for coming to the House 
floor tonight encouraging the President of the United States now to 
certify the release of this memo to the American public.

[[Page H658]]

  The American public is a lot smarter than a whole lot of other people 
give them credit for. Present them with the facts and the truth, and 
they can form their own independent judgment as to what transpired. 
That was the first thought that came to my mind when I went to the 
basement a week before last--the basement of the House Capitol--to read 
this classified memo of the House Permanent Select Committee on 
Intelligence, that this memo should be immediately released to the 
American public so that they have all of the facts.
  In addition to releasing the memo, I believe it is important to be 
releasing relevant material sourced in the memo.
  Now, tonight, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence 
voted to publicly release this memo to the American public, and, at the 
same time, the House Democrats came to the committee calling for the 
declassification and public release of their memo.

                              {time}  1945

  Let me add a little bit more context on this memo that the House 
Democrats came to the floor asking to be released.
  They did not allow the voting members of the House Intelligence 
Committee to read the memo tonight before voting to declassify and 
publicly release it.
  Let me repeat that. The House Democrats, led by Ranking Member Adam 
Schiff, went to the House Intelligence Committee tonight calling for 
the public release of their memo, asking for their colleagues to 
declassify the memo and to publicly release it immediately, without 
giving them the opportunity to read it first.
  I can speak for myself. I haven't read the memo that the House 
Democrats offered up tonight. I haven't been granted any access to read 
it. I am not aware of any other of my colleagues who have been able to 
read it. I can't even confirm it exists.
  After the committee met, it was fascinating to watch the minority 
members of the House Intelligence Committee going straight from the 
hearing room to the cameras to give their narrative. At no point did 
they mention whatsoever, when they were saying that they were outraged 
that the majority members of that committee didn't vote to publicly 
release it, at no point did they mention that they never gave them the 
opportunity to read it first.
  What you don't see, at the same time, are the majority members of the 
House Intelligence Committee racing off to all those same cameras to 
give their same side of the narrative, the members of that House 
Intelligence Committee.
  What we are asking for is the American public to get the facts so 
that they can form the judgment of this FISA abuse for themselves.
  I, too, applaud the leadership of Mr. Nunes and the House 
Intelligence Committee for their work to restore faith with the 
American people.
  As a former Army intelligence officer and JAG officer myself, I 
understand the importance of giving our intelligence agencies the 
critical tools they need to protect our homeland, assist our troops on 
the front lines, and surveil our enemies. However, it is critical that 
we strike a balance between national security and civil liberty to 
prevent any gross violation of individual liberties under the guise of 
national security.
  Congress has the responsibility of ensuring an appropriate balance is 
struck, and when it is not, to release information we feel is in the 
national interest and of public importance. Today, Congress took an 
important step in making this possible.
  Americans deserve the truth. To pull the wool over the eyes of the 
American public insults their intelligence and debases the freedoms and 
liberties on which our government was founded. Government transparency 
and accountability should be neither partisan nor divisive.
  I would urge my colleagues on either side of the aisle, especially 
those who have voted against its release, to evaluate and reflect upon 
their position and come together united in favor of our belief that the 
American public is a lot smarter than many give them credit for. Give 
them the facts, and we have faith they will be able to form their own 
independent conclusions.
  Now it is up to the President. I would encourage him to release the 
memo. I would also encourage him to release relevant material sourced 
in it. Americans have the right know. If we as their elected 
Representatives fail to stand up for them, who will?
  The only way forward is to give the American public more information, 
not less. Release the memo.
  I thank Congressman Matt Gaetz for his leadership throughout this 
entire process and his efforts to make sure the American public learns 
more, not less.
  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his persuasive 
leadership. The gentleman from New York (Mr. Zeldin) was one of the 
first to sign letters to members of the House Intelligence Committee, 
and particularly its chairman, expressing the sense of this body that 
we supported the transparency that the gentleman spoke of.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Lamborn).
  Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his leadership on 
this issue and for putting this hour together.
  Mr. Speaker, I have reviewed the secret memo in a secure setting. 
After having reviewed the contents of the classified memo relating to 
FISA abuses, I support its full release to the public. Americans 
deserve the truth, and Congress should always strive for transparency.
  I am stunned at the previous administration's underhanded 
surveillance methods and misuse of power at the highest levels of the 
FBI and Department of Justice. This should never have been permitted to 
  Moreover, all Federal agencies, including the FBI, should be held to 
a high standard and always be held accountable for their actions. The 
issues that the memo raises must be brought to light and dealt with 
  I am pleased that the House Intelligence Committee voted tonight to 
release the memo, but our work does not end there. We must continually 
strive for integrity and openness within all levels of government.
  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. 
Biggs), who serves on the Judiciary Committee. He has worked very hard 
from the very beginning to ascertain the bases of claims made and is a 
true investigator at heart.
  Mr. BIGGS. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Florida for leading 
tonight's Special Order. It has been an eye-opening year in office for 
me, and it is an honor to serve with Representative Gaetz on the 
Judiciary Committee in the pursuit of justice.
  Exactly 11 nights ago, Mr. Speaker, I walked into a secure vault, 
signed one of the most detailed nondisclosure documents I have ever 
seen, and viewed ``the memo.'' Everything I read was what I expected to 
read. That is what is outrageous to me. There was not much that I did 
not expect to find.

  I thank Chairman Goodlatte, Chairman Gowdy, Chairman Nunes, and 
members of the House Intelligence Committee who have now voted to 
present that memo to the public. I am looking forward to President 
Trump shortly declassifying that memo permanently.
  I have heard people say to me: You are eroding trust in government 
and in the finest law enforcement agency in the country, the FBI, with 
your continual attacks. But they don't understand that we are not 
attacking the FBI. We are seeking clarity, transparency, and an 
understanding of what went on under the leadership of the Department of 
Justice and the FBI in the previous administration. To not reveal that 
to the public is what erodes trust in their government.
  Nothing in this memo will impair our national security. But if we are 
to withhold this memo from the American people, I believe that, 
instead, would harm our national security because it would harm the 
integrity of those agencies, and it would further erode the trust that 
Americans have in their government.
  The American people deserve to see the information that I have read, 
that Mr. Gaetz has read, and that over 100 Members of Congress have 
read. The leadership of Chairman Devin Nunes has made a tremendous 
difference, and this truth will be exposed. I congratulate him.

[[Page H659]]

  Mr. Speaker, this memo will provide clarity and understanding. This 
is the memo, when it gets out, where the people will say: We need to 
make changes. We have got to have people in these law enforcement 
agencies and that lead these agencies and these bodies be trustworthy, 
follow the law, and not abuse their power for political gain or 
  Mr. Speaker, I trust my constituents. Frankly, in the last week, I 
met with literally hundreds of my constituents. The most common theme 
talked about was: When will that classified memo be released so I can 
read it, so I can make a determination, so I can understand what has 
been going on in our government?
  I am so pleased that the House Intelligence Committee voted today to 
answer the question. In short order you will be able to read this and 
make up your own mind. That is why I encourage President Trump to 
quickly declassify the memo.
  Again, I thank my colleague, Representative Gaetz, and all who have 
been working on this issue to make this memo open and transparent for 
the people.
  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his service on the 
Judiciary Committee.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Farenthold), 
another of my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee.
  Mr. FARENTHOLD. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida; he 
has definitely been a leader on this issue.
  I have got to tell you that I, too, am happy the Intelligence 
Committee has agreed to release the memo. When I was back home in Texas 
last week, it was the number one issue people were talking to me about.
  I want to take a minute and step back and do a little bit of a 
history lesson.
  The Fourth Amendment to our Constitution arose from some of the 
abusive practices that were going on in the Colonies. The King of 
England would send his troops to rifle through people's effects without 
a warrant. Our Fourth Amendment said we are not going to let that 
happen in these new United States of America. We are going to require 
the government to get a warrant before they go through people's papers. 
We are protected from illegal searches.
  I have been worried since the first day I got here in Congress, but 
in our effort to protect ourselves--and perhaps out of fear, some of 
it, perhaps, warranted--we are eroding those rights.
  So, as this memo comes out, regardless of what is in it, we need to 
be looking at the process: how we went to a secret court to get 
permission to get this information, how that information was gathered, 
what that information was, who vetted it, how thoroughly it was vetted, 
how the judges reacted, and, eventually, what came out and determined 
whether we need to reform that process to protect Americans' rights.
  Yes, we all have a right to know what is going on with our 
government. Yes, I am worried about career bureaucrats or elected 
officials abusing the power of the government to get information on 
their political enemies, like the King was doing back in the days of 
the Revolutionary War. This is our opportunity to make sure that 
doesn't happen in these United States.
  Let's not lose sight of what the issue is here, and that is 
protecting the people not only from foreigners who look to do us harm, 
but also from an oppressive government that abuses its power to spy on 
American citizens.
  I am glad this memo is going to come out. I urge President Trump to 
promptly release it and, in fact, go beyond that: look at some of the 
sources of the material in it, determine that we can reveal some of 
those sources without jeopardizing our ability to gather intelligence, 
and release the source materials so we know what people knew when they 
made the decision to pursue the material covered in this memo.
  I think this is a great time for this country. I think this is our 
opportunity to remind ourselves that we do have a right to be safe and 
secure in our persons and papers from a government that may be trying 
to do more than protect us.
  Maybe some of these folks in the government have shifted from what we 
need to protect America, such as, well, the best way to protect America 
is to protect ourselves and our jobs and our political agenda.
  That is not what the job of our law enforcement and intelligence 
community is. It is to protect us from those who want to do us harm, 
especially foreigners. I want to give them the power to do that, the 
ability to do that, but I do not want to give them the ability to 
affect elections, to go after their political enemies, to spy on any 
one of us because they can.
  Human nature is such that, if we give the government too much power, 
there are those who will abuse it. So we in Congress have got to keep 
our eye on the ball at all times and protect the constitutional rights 
that our forefathers and our Founding Fathers gave us and that our men 
and women in uniform fight for every day that they are in service to 
this country.

                              {time}  2000

  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. 
King), a fellow member of the Judiciary Committee, another of the first 
Members of Congress to demand the appointment of a second special 
counsel to look into matters such as this.
  Mr. KING of Iowa. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida 
(Mr. Gaetz) for yielding to me. I appreciate the gentleman for taking 
the lead on this issue back some weeks or months ago to bring a 
resolution to the House Judiciary Committee to call for special counsel 
to more broadly investigate all of the defugalties that have been 
taking place in this country, driven by political partisanship on the 
other side of the aisle.
  Mr. Speaker, I look back and I think about what the attitude was of 
President Trump--actually, even before the election and shortly after--
when I listened to him, and he more or less expressed this sentiment, 
which was that, with Hillary Clinton and her transgressions and the way 
she had handled the classified material and up to the secret server 
next to the bathroom up in New York in her place, essentially, the 
President's position was that we need to move America forward. We 
should not be dug deeply into going backwards on this or looking back 
over our shoulder. Let's move forward. The public has litigated this in 
the election.
  Now, I think that is where President Trump wanted it to be, but it 
wasn't to be because the left could not accept the idea that the 
American people had spoken. They began to manufacture and continue the 
manufacture this Russian investigation, these allegations that were 
collusion allegations with the Russians to try to manipulate an 
American election.
  I don't think anybody doubts that the Russians made some effort at 
that, but all of us doubt that they had any impact whatsoever on our 
election. Those of us, at least on this side of the aisle, have seen 
zero information and zero evidence that the campaign of President Trump 
had any kind of relationship that went on with the Russians, that 
promoted it or colluded in any way. But because there needed to be some 
explanation for this phenomenal Presidential election of Donald Trump, 
we had to be drug back into this Russian investigation over and over 
again. Now, this began within 2 weeks of the President's election, 
after about November 8 or so.
  Then as that unfolded, Mr. Speaker, then we saw what was really going 
on here. We got into about February or March of last year. At that 
point, I said: They are not going to relent on this Russian 
investigation business. They are going to continue to belabor this 
point. The election has already been settled and it is not in question, 
as far as the results of the polls are concerned. We have a President. 
Let's honor the President. Let's honor the will of the American people. 
Let's respect the decision made at the polls.
  But, instead, the pressure continued on and on, allegations complicit 
with the mainstream media, the fake news, as we have now finally come 
to know them, I think, by habit and fact. At that point, I said: If 
they will not let up, then it is going to be an obligation to dig and 
drill deeply into all of the things that bring us together, from Huma 
Abedin and Anthony Weiner all the way across the board, from Hillary 
and the sham investigation, the questioning of her on July 2, 2016, on 
and on

[[Page H660]]

throughout the whole spectrum of things.
  It became an obligation to drill to the complete bottom of all of the 
allegations that had been made from the investigation that surely 
didn't look legitimate to us, as Mr. Gaetz and I and others on the 
Judiciary Committee began to question people from the FBI and the 
people from the Justice Department and, at that time, James Comey, the 
Director of the FBI. We put those pieces together.
  Each one of those little incidents that were testified to kind of 
stood up okay on their own, but when you put them together in the 
string of it had to be an unbelievable string of coincidences that were 
presented before the Judiciary Committee and the other committees here 
on the Hill, it became clear to us, initiated by Mr. Gaetz, that we 
need to go much more deeply into this and much more quickly. A good 
number of us supported a resolution to call for special counsel.
  Now, I support the idea of an additional special counsel to broaden 
this. I would write the language even more broadly than the original 
resolution. But we should keep in mind what is going on on this Hill 
today, that is, that there are, by my count, at least, seven different 
congressional committees that are investigating this broad picture of 
the subject matter that we are discussing here today.
  On top of that, we have Robert Mueller's investigation as a special 
counsel. Additionally, we have an IG investigation going on in the 
Justice Department under Michael Horowitz.
  Michael Horowitz has a good reputation. He has about 450 
investigators all together, all of whom are probably not working on 
this. I would be surprised if they were. So there are seven reports 
from committees that will eventually come out, Mr. Speaker, and one 
from Robert Mueller that is going to come out and one from the IG that 
is going to come out.
  This is pretty confusing to try to understand the subject matter that 
they are addressing. It is defined a little bit differently from 
committee to committee and from the assigned investigation groups, but 
I will envision this:
  Our Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, sits there in the Justice 
Department having, in an honorable way, recused himself from the 
Russian investigation, which keeps his hands off of that. The 
recommendation, as I understand that, came from Rod Rosenstein, the 
acting U.S. Attorney General in the event that Jeff Sessions isn't 
there to be the Attorney General. That was in the recommendation, by 
the testimony that I believe I remember, that Jeff Sessions should 
recuse himself from the Russian investigation, and that is the man who 
made the appointment of Robert Mueller.
  So when I look at this whole picture, our Attorney General's job is a 
tough one, but it is one I think he can do better than anyone else in 
this country or on this planet, and that is make sense of all of these 
investigations, seven congressional investigations, an IG 
investigation, and a special counsel's investigation. That adds up to 
nine, by my estimation.

  Now, people are human. So that says to me that these assignments of 
these investigations are either going to overlap or there are going to 
be gaps. When you have nine of them all together, there will be 
overlapping and there will be gaps. Where there are overlaps, there is 
likely to be some contradiction.
  So the job of the Attorney General is to look at this whole picture 
and put this back together in a way that you can figure out what the 
contradictions are, fill in the gaps, investigate the places that 
haven't been investigated by the assignments of these various 
committees and the special counsel, and then deliver to the American 
people the right kind of view on the justice that needs to come. If 
there are indictments, to make that call for those indictments, clearly 
and unequivocally, based upon factual evidence.
  That is why I support this memo being released in the vote of the 
Select Committee on Intelligence today. It is essential that the 
American people get to the truth. They can't absorb this truth all in 
one day. It has to come out a piece at a time because we are human and 
they are human.
  So I encourage the Attorney General to keep his hand on this in the 
steady way that he has. I am very confident that the decisions made on 
the Select Committee on Intelligence are the correct ones, and I am 
very confident that the President will make a decision to release the 
memo so the American people can get at the truth. How far the truth 
takes us, history will write that book.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for putting this all together here 
this evening.
  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. King) 
for being a clarion voice for calling this Congress and this 
administration to act in a way that is consistent with the values and 
the principles of the American people.
  Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to how much time is remaining.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Florida has 33 minutes 
  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, I will not take that full allotment of time. 
I will say, though, that it is worth repeating the great work that 
Chairman Bob Goodlatte has done in the Judiciary Committee; the 
excellent work that Trey Gowdy has done, the chairman of the Oversight 
and Government Reform Committee; and the excellent work that Chairman 
Devin Nunes has done. Each of these committees has jurisdiction over a 
different component part of the information that is laid out before the 
American people that has given rise to so many concerns about bias, 
departure from standard practices, familial relationships, and the 
potential political corrosion of institutions that we have to rely on 
for an effective democracy.
  I also want to thank the thousands of people who work in the FBI and 
the Department of Justice who are patriots, who go to work every day to 
protect us from threats at home and abroad, who really do do a great 
job in defense of this country. It is not their work that we question; 
in fact, it is their work we hope to empower.
  When you have circumstances where folks at the head shed or the 
leading bureaucrats can rip investigations away from field offices, can 
alter the contents of information that is shared with the American 
people, it undermines the work that true law enforcement members are 
doing. We want to highlight and honor that work while, at the same 
time, exercising our oversight function to go after the bad conduct 
and, where we find it systemic, institute reforms so that it does not 
happen again.
  The FBI and the Department of Justice should never be a political 
weapon used to go after adversaries. This is an issue where we ought to 
have more bipartisan agreement, Mr. Speaker. While I am grateful that 
the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee this evening were able to 
carry the day in the fight for transparency, I am disappointed that 
these issues led to party-line votes.
  The reality is that all Americans--Republican, Democrat, Independent, 
Libertarian, or members of the Whig Party--have an interest in ensuring 
that we have systems in place that protect our constitutional rights 
and liberties. We all have a stake in the action to ensure that, no 
matter which party wins or loses an election, the political apparatus 
of intelligence won't be used to go after enemies or people we disagree 
  I believe this was an opportunity missed, but it won't be the last 
one. I believe that the President is going to declassify this 
information within the 5-day window allowed to him. When he does, all 
Americans will see why Republicans have been concerned with the 
information we have learned. Then the opportunity will arise to work 
together, to take these facts, to take what we know, and to liberate 
ourselves from the partisanship of this town and to try to make things 
better so that, in the future, you don't have a circumstance where one 
investigation is called a headquarter special and taken away from the 
Washington field office, as the Hillary Clinton email scandal was.
  We certainly don't want cases where people's family members--familial 
relationships, spousal relationships--influence the outcomes of 
decisions; and we also don't want systems in place that allow leaks to 
the media within the apparatus of intelligence to cloud

[[Page H661]]

our mind, to cloud our judgment, to cloud the facts, or to cloud the 
review of our courts.
  So, again, while I am proud of the work of the people who have spent 
a year investigating these matters, while I am confident in the 
findings of this report, I still remain disappointed that we don't have 
more unity to ensure that these types of abuses never happen again.
  Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, the President of the United States will walk 
down the center aisle. He will address this floor. There might be a few 
more folks than there are here this evening. I hope that the first 
thing he does is hand to the Speaker of the House his consent and his 
agreement to allow transparency to rein, to declassify this memo, to 
put it before the American people, and then let's have a great debate 
about its consequences and about the opportunity that it presents to 
make things better so that these things never happen again.

  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.