Published: Sun, February 25, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

House Democrats release intelligence memo as rebuttal to GOP

House Democrats release intelligence memo as rebuttal to GOP

President Donald Trump and the White House reacted almost immediately after the House Intelligence Committee released a Democratic rebuttal memo to its Republican counterpart on Saturday. He promised to release the Republican memo before he had even read it, according to White House officials and the timing of his public comments.

President Donald Trump had argued that making the Democrats' memo available to the public would reveal intelligence gathering sources and methods.

The GOP memo, assembled by the staff of House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, alleged the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department officials relied on an unsubstantiated dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele to get a warrant to conduct surveillance of Page.

Said Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee: "Our extensive review of the initial FISA application and three subsequent renewals failed to uncover any evidence of illegal, unethical, or unprofessional behavior by law enforcement and instead revealed that both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and DOJ made extensive showings to justify all four requests". The memo reads, in part: "The "dossier' compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application..."

The Schiff memo cites the FBI's previous interest in Page, including a March 2016 interview with him about his contact with Russian intelligence.

Sanders says the Democratic memo is "politically driven".

Later Saturday evening, Trump tweeted: "The Democrat memo response on government surveillance abuses is a total political and legal BUST".

CNN's Brian Stelter first pointed out the missing words calling it'worrisome that the president would either purposely misquote a news report or misunderstood what he heard on TV
House Democrats release intelligence memo as rebuttal to GOP

The memo also says that Steele's findings in the dossier had no bearing on the FBI's decision to initiate an investigation into Russian election interference and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, noting that the FBI had launched an investigation in July of 2016, and received Steele's information that was contained in the dossier nearly two months later.

The details of what exactly the Justice Department verified from the dossier were redacted, but the memo does outline that information Page gave while testifying to Congress was incorrect.

"We actually wanted this out", Nunes told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

"Steele's reporting did not reach the counterintelligence team investigating Russian Federation at FBI headquarters until mid-September 2016, more than seven weeks after the FBI opened its investigation, because the probe's existence was so closely held within the FBI", the memo states.

In response to the Democratic memo, Page calls it "misinformation" and "the latest smear campaign" by Democratic Party loyalists.

On Saturday, the redacted memo was approved by the White House and released by the committee.

The warrant at issue in the Republican memo was obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. Republicans forced a "surprise vote" on the document.

Like this: