Illinois’ congressional delegation is split along party lines on whether the controversial memo released Friday exposes inherent bias in the FBI against the Trump administration or if it’s meant to undermine law enforcement investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The Republican-crafted memo was released Friday after it got the green light to be declassified from the White House. It alleges leadership at the FBI and the Department of Justice under the Obama administration signed off on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant applications to spy on the Trump campaign without disclosing that the underlying evidence was unsubstantiated opposition research funded by Democrats.
A “Key Points” document released alongside the memo says, “Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the [Democratic National Committee], Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding [Christopher] Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.”
Steele is a former British intelligence officer who was hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia.
The “Key Points” documents also says “Former FBI Deputy Director [Andrew] McCabe confirmed that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) without the Steele dossier information.”
In a statement, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, said the release of the Republican memo was egregious, toxic, and an attack on special investigator Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Trump.
The memo was written by staffers of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence with access to tens of thousands of pages of classified intelligence.
Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, told WMAY Springfield he hopes the GOP memo release is just the beginning.
“I would love for the underlying intelligence to come out,” Davis said. “I would love for it to be scrubbed for top secret material. I frankly hope that the Democrat memo gets put out there because I think the American people need to see it all.”
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last week was unanimous in supporting release of the Democrats’ memo for review by the entire House. But Republicans wanted time to digest the 10-page memo that U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said has up to 36 footnotes, “and some of the details there could be described as harming national interests.”
“I think we need time to absorb their 10-page memo before we release it to the full public,” Conaway said in transcripts of the committee meeting released alongside the Republican memo.
Following a campaign stop for Illinois gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker in Springfield Saturday, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, said the Republican memo is flimsy and he’s worried about it’s motive.
“No one, including the president, is above the law and this idea that they’re going to undermine the FBI and that basic principle is really worrisome,” Durbin said.
As someone who was caught on FBI wiretaps with imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Pritzker said he didn’t have anything to add to the national conversation, other than it was a crafted distraction from alleged Trump wrongdoing. He said Gov. Bruce Rauner is doing the same thing running ads with Pritzker on the wire taps with Blagojevich.
Article By Greg Bishop. For more Illinois News Network content, visit ILNews.org
Republicans Davis and LaHood hold onto congressional seats
Both Congressmen who serve the Springfield area retained their seats last night. Darin LaHood (R-18) and Rodney Davis (R-13) will be going back to Washington DC. LaHood had a decisive victory with 67.5 percent of the vote against Democrat Junius Rodriguez who took 32.5 percent. Davis had a much closer race. He won out over Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan by a margin of just 3,700 votes.
But Illinois Congressional races generally went towards the Democrats. The 6th District went to Sean Casten over Republican incumbent Peter Roskam. Lauren Underwood came out over Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren in the 14th. These races were part of the Democrats retaking of the US House of Representatives. Illinois now has 13 Democratic and 5 Republican Congressional Representatives.
Even in the races they won, Republicans have reasons to be concerned. LaHood received 57,000 fewer votes in his rematch against Rodriguez than he did in 2016. Rodriguez’s total dropped just 3,000 votes. Davis faced a similar situation. Where the Democrats actually gained 5,000 votes in the 13th, Davis’ total declined by 52,000.
While a win is a win, even these high points of last night’s election should be worrying to the Illinois Republican Party.
Duckworth visits Springfield to support Londrigan
With the November 6th election less than a week away, candidates are making their final appearances before the votes are cast. In that spirit, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), came out to show her support for Betsy Dirksen Londrigan in her race against Rodney Davis (R-13). Duckworth echoed Londrigan’s concern over support for preexisting conditions. Londrigan’s primary campaign issue has been ensuring continuing coverage for preexisting conditions.
The senator expanded on this point to highlight the issues that veterans face. A veteran herself, Duckworth explained that not every service member receives coverage at the VA. Many veterans choose or are forced to seek insurance coverage elsewhere.
Jim Dixon, president of the Illinois & Central Illinois Trades & Labor Council, also pointed out that not all injuries veterans receive in the line of duty are covered at the VA. Agent Orange, a defoliant used during the Vietnam War, has led to huge numbers of cancers and deaths among those who were exposed to it. However, it took many years for the government to acknowledged Agent Orange was harmful to people. Duckworth suggested that there may be other unrecognized issues from service in more recent wars that require veterans to seek healthcare outside of the VA.
You can watch Duckworth’s and Londrigan’s full remarks in the player.
Bustos and Londrigan respond to Davis statements on healthcare
Healthcare, especially coverage for preexisting conditions, has been a major focus of the race in the 13th. Betsy Dirksen Londrigan (D) was motivated to enter the race specifically due to her son’s near-fatal illness. Both she and her Republican opponent Rodney Davis have been working to portray themselves as champions of those with preexisting conditions. At the same time, they have been attacking the proposals put forward by the other side.
Today, Londrigan was joined by fellow Democrat Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-17) to rebut several recent claims from the Davis camp. One claim in particular, that the Washington Post gave “four pinocchios” to the Democrats for claims about how the AHCA protects preexisting conditions, was highlighted. The Post published an article this morning refuting this claim, and objecting to the Republicans’ refusal to correct their misstatements. Londrigan pointed to this article as proof of Davis hiding from his record on healthcare.
Bustos also spoke about the recent tax reform bill. She celebrated the fact that no Democrats voted for the bill, which she said greatly expanded federal deficits. Bustos went on to warn that Republicans may use the growing deficit as justification to cut entitlement programs like Medicare or Social Security.
Londrigan and Davis will have their final debate tonight in Normal, IL. You can watch Bustos’ and Londrigan’s full remarks in the player.
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