While the threat of a government shutdown amidst an immigration debate dominates the current news cycle and rattles markets, another controversy brewed yesterday. By a party-line vote, the House Intelligence Committee voted to declassify and make public a memo that Lawmakers say demonstrates "an abuse" of the intelligence community's surveillance process.

As the Russia investigation continues, controversies have surfaced in recent months over the role played by a Fusion GPS dossier containing scandalous but unverified claims about President Trump.

Who paid for the dossier, meetings between Fusion GPS and Justice Department officials, and what role the dossier played in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process have all been heated questions.

What questions will the memo answer?

The memo is purported to definitively answer some of those questions. It's also been rumored to be connected right to the heart of the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed to investigate all matters relating to possible Russian collusion last May. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, appointed Mueller, is said by Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to be involved in the contents of the memo.

"I believe the consequence of its release will be major changes in people currently working at the FBI and the Department of Justice." Gaetz said in an interview with Fox News.

Unable to say more since the memo was so classified that it could only be read in a specialized room, lawmakers dropped hints on what its contents are:

Republican lawmakers have urged Speaker Paul Ryan to bring a vote for releasing the memo to the floor of the House.

The controversy comes at a vulnerable time for the intelligence community, which has seen its prestige dented over the course of the past year. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) had threatened to filibuster the recent FISA re-authorization bill over concerns of Americans getting caught up in foreign surveillance. Additionally, this week, an ex-CIA officer was charged over suspicions of being a Chinese agent.

Democratic response

The party-line vote suggests that not all lawmakers are convinced of the memo's importance. Democratic members of Congress weren't as gung-ho for its release as their Republican counterparts.

Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee were quick to dismiss the controversy. Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA) dismissed the memo as "misleading talking points" and warned that it would give the public "a distorted view of the FBI."