An allegedly damning memo about the FBI and DOJ is electrifying Republicans — in Congress and online

Key Points
  • A rallying cry to "release the memo" from the House Intelligence Committee has exploded both online and in Congress.
  • Republican House members, including Reps. Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz and Mark Meadows, described the contents of the still-classified memo in incendiary terms.
  • But a website claiming to track Russian influence in real time showed that Russia-linked Twitter accounts helped #ReleaseTheMemo go viral.
Special counsel Robert Mueller (2nd L) leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC.
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Republicans are clamoring for the public release of a memo detailing alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) related to the special counsel's investigation of potential Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.

"The House must immediately make public the memo prepared by the Intelligence Committee regarding the FBI and the Department of Justice," Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said. "The facts contained in this memo are jaw-dropping and demand full transparency."

The rallying cry to "release the memo" has exploded both online and in Congress. The hashtag #releasethememo went viral on Twitter and other social media sites on Thursday, and Republican members of Congress issued statements of alarm about its contents.

"I am shocked to read exactly what has taken place. I would think that it would never happen in a country that loves democracy and freedom," Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said Thursday on the House floor. "It is time that we become transparent in all of this."

While still classified to the public, the four-page memo has become an instant fixation online — thanks in part to Russian propaganda accounts, according to a website claiming to track Russian influence in real time.

The website Hamilton 68, named after one of the Federalist papers authored by founding father Alexander Hamilton, claims to track 600 Twitter accounts "linked to Russian influence operations."

The site's analytics show activity for #releasethememo increased in frequency among the tracked accounts by 265,100 percent in the last 48 hours.

The push from some Republicans follows the release of intelligence-gathering firm Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson's testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. The prior week, Simpson's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee was released by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

The memo was disclosed for House members following a party-line vote by the House Intelligence Committee. It is currently only available to House members in a classified briefing room called a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility.

President Donald Trump on Friday signed a reauthorization of FISA, assuring Americans in a tweet that this version of the bill was "NOT the same FISA law that was so wrongly abused during the election."

Trump tweet FISA

Democrat Adam Schiff of California, a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, called the memo a "profoundly misleading set of talking points drafted by Republican staff attacking the FBI and its handling of the investigation."