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- House Speaker Paul Ryan broke his silence Tuesday about the controversial Republican memo, calling for its public disclosure and a “cleanse” of the FBI.
- Ryan also expressed confidence in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
- Republicans and Democrats are at odds over a memo, spearheaded by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, that Republicans say shows evidence of bias against President Donald Trump and corruption within the FBI and the Department of Justice.
“Let it all out, get it all out there, cleanse the organization,” Ryan said at a breakfast event with members of the press, according to the report.
“I think we should disclose all this stuff” in the memo, said Ryan, who has previously skirted questions about it. “It’s the best disinfectant – accountability, transparency, for the sake of the reputation of our institutions.”
Republicans have been pushing to publicly release the memo, which they say details bias against President Donald Trump and corruption within the FBI and the Department of Justice.
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted Monday to disclose the memo, giving Trump five days to decide whether to make it public.
Later Tuesday, Ryan held a brief press conference in which he suggested there “may have been malfeasance at the FBI by certain individuals,” though he also said he thought Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was “doing a fine job.”
In his remarks, Ryan was clear to distinguish the memo from the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.
“This is a completely separate matter from Bob Muller’s investigation, and his investigation should be allowed to take its course,” Ryan said.
Democrats who have seen the memo disagree with the way Republicans have characterized it, calling their concerns about potential abuses by the FBI and the DOJ a “misleading” set of talking points.
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are said to have written a memo of their own countering what they say are attempts by the GOP to discredit Mueller’s investigation, though it is unclear whether it will be made public. Rep. Mike Conaway, a Republican member of the committee, suggested he would be in favor of releasing it once the House had reviewed it.