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
Davis picks up trio of endorsements from business groups
The big news on Friday was that Mike Pence was coming to endorse Rodney Davis (R-13) in his reelection bid. But before the Vice President spoke in the afternoon, Davis picked up another trio of endorsements. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), and the US Chamber of Commerce all endorsed Davis for reelection. These endorsements mirror the ten labor union endorsements Davis received earlier in the year.
Davis’s voting record was the main reason the groups decided to endorse him. Davis has a 100 percent voting record with the NFIB, and a 91 percent record with the US Chamber of Commerce. One of the key votes they highlighted was the 2017 tax reform bill which lowered taxes on both large and small businesses. They also applauded his continuing efforts to make the tax cuts permanent.
However, there was an additional reason they decided to endorse Davis over his Democratic opponent Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. They said she, “has not shown any daylight between her positions and that of Nancy Pelosi,” and that businesses are terrified of what a Pelosi speakership would mean for the business community. Specifically, they are afraid of a more expansive role of the government in healthcare, and a repeal of the 2017 tax reform.
During his remarks, Davis spoke about the booming economy and its implications for the business community. With high growth and record low unemployment, many employers are having difficulty finding employees. While it may be a good problem to have, it is still needs to be addressed. Davis stressed the need to continue with workforce development so that local employers can fill the new, higher paying jobs, that are being created.
You can watch their full remarks in the player.
Vice President Pence endorses Rodney Davis
Vice President Mike Pence was in Springfield yesterday to endorse local Congressman Rodney Davis (R-13). Speaking at the Panther Creek County Club, Pence highlighted Davis’ record on the economy and veterans’ issues. Davis was the author of the “Hire More Heroes Act,” which made it easier for veterans and their families to get private sector employment.
Most of Pence’s speech was about the accomplishments of the Trump administration and the Republican legislature as a whole. The booming economy was discussed from a number of angles. Unemployment is the lowest it has been since 1969. Tax reforms passed in 2017 are starting to put more money in the pockets of middle class families. And new trade deals with China, Canada, Mexico, and other have lead to a revitalization of industries like steel. Pence said repealing regulations helped make these improvements possible.
In addition to the positive moves the Republicans have made in the last two years, Pence also offered a vision of what might happen if Davis is not reelected. He warned that a Democratic majority would mean Pelosi would be Speaker of the House again, and the “resist” movement would obstruct the work Trump is trying to accomplish. The 13th Congressional District is one of the more competitive districts in the nation, and so it is particularly important for the Republicans to reelect Davis.
Pence closed with an appeal for voters to go to the polls and vote, saying “friends don’t let friends vote alone.” Early voting has already started. Election Day is Tuesday November 6th.
Pence is not the first member of the Trump administration to support Davis’ reelection bid. President Trump praised Davis during a Granite City event in July, and Ivanka Trump visited Godfrey with Davis in August. You can watch Pence’s full speech in the player.
Springfield Daily interviews with the candidates
We sat down with many of the candidates for the 2018 Election to hear their views on the important issues. Find out which candidates you align with as they showcase their ideas. Hosted by Thomas Clatterbuck.
Clark is running against Republican incumbent Avery Bourne. To learn more about the candidates in this race, check out our Campaign Headquarters page.
Murphy is running against Democratic candidate Marc Bell. To learn more about the candidates in this race, check out our Campaign Headquarters page.
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