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Rep. Katko Favors Release of Controversial Memo; Forges Ahead on Infrastructure Plan

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Syracuse-area Congressmember John Katko says he favors the release of the controversial classified memo that alleges the department of justice and the FBI abused their surveillance powers ahead of President Trump’s election.  It could be released later Friday pending Trump’s approval.  Katko says it should come out sooner than later as special prosecutor Robert Mueller continues his investigation.

"While it's unusual, in this case, it's probably necessary given the allegations.  Let's put it this way:  If there's nothing to it, then there's nothing to it.  If there's information that would indicate a problem, that should be known, too.  I think Mueller would like to know it himself, so, we’ll see.”                          

As a former assistant federal prosecutor, Katko says he knows firsthand doing a proper and thorough investigation is critical.

"So, if there's something to indicate that the agents or others had preconceived notions that skewed the investigation, took them to a place they shouldn't have gone, or a misuse of authority, for example the wiretapping provisions and evidence derived therefrom, that is something that should be examined."

Katko is quick to add he hasn’t seen the memo and he’s not sure if that happened in this case.  He says while it might be the news of the week, Congress continues to work on other issues, including infrastructure.  He and the bi-partisan problem solvers caucus have come up with a plan that addresses highways, water, broadband, and airports.

 "We presented a lot of recommendations.  We had an in-depth, vibrant discussion with folks from the White House, from the president's cabinet.  I was at the forefront of those discussions.  We're trying to find some bipartisan solutions to get it done."

Then there’s immigration and the budget, which is up against another deadline next week.  Katko blames democrats for the gridlock.

"In particular, holding defense funding hostage until they get a DACA fix.  We're trying to de-couple those.  Let's get the budget fix, then a DACA fix.  They're also requiring if there's an increase in defense spending, they want an increase in non-defense spending as well."

But Katko claims democrats don’t specify just how they want to spend that money.  He says most branches of the military are the most vulnerable they’ve been in generations.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at