As some Republican leaders offered tempered statements on the newly released House Intelligence Committee memo on Friday, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) took the document and ran straight to the absolute extreme.
Gosar wrote in a statement that the memo “is not just evidence of incompetence but clear and convincing evidence of treason.”
“The FBI knowingly took false information from the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign and then used it to smear Donald Trump in order to hurt his campaign,” he wrote.
The memo did not accuse government officials of using “false information,” but alleged that officials used a dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele as one of its sources to apply for a warrant to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The dossier has not been fully verified, but it’s not clear from the memo how much of the dossier’s claims the FBI independently verified and how many other sources the FBI used. Steele’s work was funded by Democrats, via the firm Fusion GPS, but the dossier did not come directly from Democrats.
Gosar went on in his statement to specifically accuse former FBI Director James Comey, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of “treason.” He called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “seek criminal prosecution” against those four individuals.
Other Republicans in Congress offered far less fiery statements in response to the memo. Both House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) cautioned that the memo should not be used to impugn or discredit the FBI or special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Even House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), who orchestrated the memo’s release, did not go so far as to accuse anyone of treason in his statement Friday.