GOP congressman doesn't agree with Trump's claim that memo 'totally vindicates' him

Rep. Will Hurd voted in favor of releasing the memo alleging surveillance abuse.

February 04, 2018, 11:01 AM

— -- A Republican on the House Intelligence Committee who voted in favor of releasing a controversial GOP memo alleging abuse of government surveillance powers in the Russia investigation said he doesn't agree with President Donald Trump's claim that the document "totally vindicates" him.

Rep. Will Hurd of Texas was asked by ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" Sunday if he agrees “when [Trump] says this vindicates him in the entire Russia investigation,” as the president tweeted Saturday.

“I don't,” Hurd responded to Stephanopoulos, adding, “I don't agree with some of my colleagues ... always using the words 'explosive'" to describe the document."

He said, however, "I’m not shocked that elected officials are using hyperbole and ... exaggerations."

Hurd told Stephanopoulos the Republican memo should not interfere with the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller of Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion by Trump associates.

"I don’t believe this is an attack on Bob Mueller," the Texas representative said. "I don’t believe this is an attack on the men and women in the FBI. I’ve served shoulder-to-shoulder with them, and they are hardworking folks that keep us safe."

He added, "I want to stress, Bob Mueller should be allowed to turn over every rock, pursue every lead so that we can have trust in knowing what actually the Russians did or did not do."

The four-page memo alleging abuses of government surveillance powers was written by Republican staff of the House Intelligence Committee. The memo was made public Friday after Trump declassified the document and despite the FBI's expressing "grave concerns" about its release.

Stephanopoulos asked Hurd why he approved releasing the GOP memo while voting against releasing another memo written by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

“There was information in there that I did believe led to erosion of national security," Hurd said of the Democratic document. "There was some, some references to ongoing intelligence operations.”

“Why not wait until that was scrubbed the way the Republican memo was scrubbed so they could both be put out at the same time?” pressed Stephanopoulos.

“Well, the information wasn't ready to go, and so we decided to release ours. People can criticize that, that decision, but I think providing oversight and shining a light on these issues is important,” Hurd said.

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