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FILE - In this March 10, 2017 file photo, House Budget Committee Chair Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. House Republicans on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, unveiled a budget that makes deep cuts in food stamps and other social safety net programs while boosting military spending by billions, a blueprint that pleases neither conservatives nor moderates. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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Congressman Chuck Fleischmann throws candy to people watching the Collegedale-Ooltewah Spirit of Christmas Parade Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017 in Collegedale, Tenn. The parade traveled along Little Debbie Parkway to Ooltewah Middle School via Apison Pike.

NASHVILLE - Two Tennessee Republican congressmen Friday welcomed the release of a controversial report by fellow House Republicans that alleges surveillance abuses by the Justice Department and FBI officials in their investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign and the possible collusion by Trump campaign officials. 

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said in a statement that "the American people have the right to know the information in the memo released by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Democrats, meanwhile, charge the memo produced by Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., was cherry-picked to show investigators' use of the federal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in a bad light and could compromise national security.

The Chattanooga congressman, however, said the release "has followed all procedures and protocols to both protect national security and provide Americans with the transparency they deserve. 

"The FISA law is about facts and in this instance it appears the facts may have been jeopardized to serve a political agenda," Fleischmann added.

U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., a 2018 candidate for governor, also praised the release as well, saying, "I'm glad the public will now have the opportunity to review the contents of the memo and judge for themselves the actions of the FBI related to the FISA Court.

"This is not about driving a partisan agenda; this is about transparency," Black said in her statement.

A day earlier, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, criticized the planned release of the Nunes memo, calling it a "dismal failure" after he read both the then-classified GOP memo as well as one developed by committee Democrats.

"It's like comparing an A-quality essay with a D-minus effort," Cohen said in a statement. "Where Nunes' memo is brief, undocumented and fails to provide data germane to the case it purports to make, the Democrats' response is in-depth, thorough, complete, and fully annotated."

President Trump's administration OK'd declassification of the memo which charges the Justice Department and the FBI with abusing FISA to get the secret approval from a federal judge to spy on an adviser to Trump's presidential campaign. 

Critics contend Nunes' memo amounts to a partisan attack intended to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling.

 

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