Lawmaker: FBI Memo Will ‘Shock Americans,’ Warrant Removal of ‘FBI, DOJ Officials’

Duffy, Zeldin talk national security ahead of Trump's first State of the Union

Sean Duffy
Sean Duffy / Getty Images
• January 30, 2018 2:26 pm


A classified memo alleging abuses by the FBI and Department of Justice in its handling of a surveillance operation against President Donald Trump and his associates will "be shocking to many Americans" and likely prompt the removal of "a high number" of senior officials in these agencies, according to one member of Congress who has viewed the highly classified document.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines late Monday to declassify the hotly contested memo, which outlines alleged surveillance abuses by senior FBI and DOJ officials pursuing what many have described as partisan campaign against Trump.

Following that decision, the president has several days to decide whether he will allow the memo to be released to the American public or kept classified.

Rep. Sean Duffy (R., Wis.), speaking about the decision, said allegations in the memo "will be shocking to many Americans and warrant the removal of a number of high [level] FBI and DOJ individuals as well as at least one of those individuals being prosecuted," according to comments made in the lawmaker's podcast, an advanced copy of which was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

"There is a lot of smoke blowing around the FBI, the DOJ," Duffy said during a chat with his colleague, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.), on national security issues and Trump's upcoming State of the Union address.

Zeldin, one of just two Jewish Republicans in Congress, said he expects Trump to discuss the rising threats posed by Iran and North Korea, particularly the ballistic missile programs being operated by both rogue nations.

Zeldin also praised Trump's recent decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv.

"He is not only fulfilling his own campaign promises, but the promises of candidates in the past," Zeldin said. "Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the U.S. should be recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."

"It shouldn't be controversial and should have happened a long time ago," Zeldin said.

The two lawmakers also discussed the growing threat posed by North Korea and its nuclear weapons program.

Discussing a recent flare up over Trump's reference to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as "little rocket man," Zeldin disclosed that Trump is not the only diplomat to refer to Kim Jong Un in that manner.

"We have heads of other countries who, I've been in the room when its happened, they call Kim Jong Un ‘little rocket man' and it's amusing to hear, especially when you hear it with a British accent."

On Iran, both Duffy and Zeldin agreed that Trump is pursuing a much better course than the Obama administration, which provided Iran with billions of dollars in sanctions relief in pursuit of the landmark nuclear deal.

The lawmakers both took aim at entrenched State Department officials who they say are continuing to push policies first introduced by the Obama administration.

"These are the same people that administration after administration give the same bad advice that leads to the same bad results," Duffy said, noting that Trump is willing "to do things differently."

The intelligence community, which remains stacked with officials from the former administration, is leading Trump down the wrong path when it comes to Iran, according to Zeldin.

"There are products that are formulated by the deep state that come to him [Trump] and say, ‘Mr. President Iran is not violating the letter of the [nuclear] deal,'" Zeldin said.

"You have this deep state product that's working its way up that could wind up on the president's desk and it might not be getting filtered" through the proper vetting channels, Zeldin said. "The president really needs to question some of the advice that he might be getting from these agencies, from these career diplomats who are so invested in creating this fatally flawed deal."

The lawmakers also expressed concerns about how close North Korea is coming to a capable nuclear weapon, an outcome that would likely warrant a military response from the United States.

"If the red line is that North Korea cannot acquire a nuke weapon capable of hitting the U.S. at all, if that's the red line, we're getting really, really close to using that military option and I don't want to," Zeldin said.

Published under: FBI, Iran, Justice Department, North Korea