December 19, 2018
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Collins, Poliquin split on release of classified Russia probe memo

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
In this October 2016 file photo are pictured U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (center) and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (right), with National Federation of Independent Business State Director David Clough (left).

Maine’s Republican representatives to Congress voiced disagreement Tuesday over whether a memo regarding the U.S. House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe should be released to the public.

Republican members of the committee, who have the majority, voted Monday to release a four-page memo that reportedly shows the FBI and U.S. justice department abused their surveillance capabilities during the investigation into whether Russia tried to influence the 2016 presidential election. The decision about whether to release the memo is now for President Donald Trump, who has until the end of this week to decide.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who said she hasn’t seen the memo, urged the committee to be cautious about releasing the memo — and possibly redact portions of it — because of security concerns and the possibility that its contents are the result of “cherry-picking intelligence.” She also faulted the committee’s partisan vote.

“I believe that [Trump] should follow the advice of his justice department, which so far is to not release it,” Collins said Tuesday on CNN, according to a transcript of the interview released by her office.

The justice department has said releasing the memo would be “extraordinarily reckless.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who said through a spokesman that he has seen the memo, said it should be declassified and released to the public.

“He wants to make sure our federal agencies are transparent and he is performing his duty as a member of a co-equal branch of government to hold agencies and bureaucrats accountable,” said spokesman Brendan Conley.

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King told a CNN host Tuesday he doesn’t think the memo should be released because it could uncover U.S. secrets.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree said in a written statement that she has seen the memo in question as well as another drafted by Democratic members of the committee. She alleged that the Republicans are trying to “politically protect an embattled President Trump” and if that memo is released, both versions should be.

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