Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, on Sunday suggested shutting down U.S. intelligence agencies if they refuse to turn over information they collected on Donald Trump during the 2016 election.
In an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Nunes said that he is aware of intelligence he described as “smoking guns” that should be declassified and released to the public.
“Every Republican senator and member of Congress should be saying…we want every damn bit of evidence that every intelligence agency has or it’s maybe time to shut those agencies down,” said Nunes.
Nunes was discussing a memo from John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, released this week through the Senate Judiciary Committee. (RELATED: US Intel Agencies Flagged Clinton Plan To Link Trump To Russian Hacks)
The memo said that U.S. intelligence agencies obtained intercepted Russian intelligence agencies discussing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s authorization of a plan to link President Donald Trump to the Kremlin’s hacking efforts.
The U.S. intelligence community made an investigative referral to the FBI in September 2016 regarding the information, according to the Ratcliffe memo.
Ratcliffe quoted the referral as mentioning the “approval of a plan concerning U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering U.S. elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private mail server.”
The underlying information is still classified, preventing lawmakers who have seen it from talking about it publicly. Partisan debate has erupted over whether the information is Russian disinformation.
Nunes said Sunday that the pieces of intelligence he has seen are “definitely smoking guns” that “definitely needs to be made available to the American public.”
“There’s even more underlying evidence that backs up what Director Ratcliffe put out,” Nunes added.
Nunes has battled the FBI and Justice Department since early 2017 for information about the FBI’s handling of the Steele dossier. Nunes and other Republicans accused the FBI of withholding information that undercut the credibility of the dossier, which accused the Trump campaign of conspiring with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.
A Justice Department inspector general’s report released in December 2019 said that the FBI withheld information that undercut the credibility of the dossier, which the bureau used to obtain warrants to surveil Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
It is unclear whether the intelligence cited in the Ratcliffe memo deals with the dossier, which was compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
The Clinton campaign and DNC hired Steele through opposition research firm Fusion GPS in June 2016 to investigate Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia.
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