- Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo to counter Republican claims of corruption and bias against President Donald Trump at the FBI and the Justice Department.
- The memo attempts to undercut Republicans’ claims the FBI and the DOJ misled a secret surveillance court when it submitted an application to spy on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.
- You can read the full memo below.
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President Donald Trump on Saturday authorised Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee to release their rebuttal to a GOP memo that accused officials at the FBI and the Department of Justice of unjustly spying on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page for political purposes.
The memo attempts to undermine the core claim made by Republicans, which is that the FBI and the DOJ abused the process of obtaining a so-called FISA warrant to surveil Page by deceptively omitting crucial information.
The GOP memo was spearheaded by Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
“DOJ and the FBI would have been remiss in their duty to protect the country had they not sought a FISA warrant and repeated renewals to conduct temporary surveillance of Carter Page, someone the FBI assessed to be an agent of the Russian government,” Democrats said in their memo. “DOH met the rigour, transparency, and evidentiary basis needed to meet FISA’s probable cause requirement.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee’s ranking Democrat, has led the charge against the credibility of the Nunes memo. In a tweet on Saturday, Schiff said the Republican version distorts “key facts in order to mislead the public and impugn the integrity of the FBI.”
Following the release of the Democrats’ memo, the White House called it a “politically driven document that fails to answer serious concerns” about the partisan nature of the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
The Steele dossier, which was funded by the Democratic National Committee and a law firm connected to former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, played a narrow role role in the FBI’s and the DOJ’s justification in its application for a warrant on Page. Republicans say it played “an essential part” of the application.
Here are the key points laid out in the Democrats’ memo:
- The FISA warrant was not used to spy on Trump or his campaign. Page left the Trump campaign long before the FBI started to surveil him.
- The FBI and the DOJ had sufficient evidence to justify spying on Page, including information about Page’s history with Russian intelligence and his “suspicious activity during the 2016 campaign.
- Page was on the FBI’s radar as far back as 2013, years before he ever became involved in the Trump campaign. The FBI had been interested in Page because two Russian spies once tried to recruit him.
- The FBI was also concerned about Page’s travels to Russia in July 2016. During that trip, Page allegedly met with two close associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin. One of those associates allegedly told Page that “the Kremlin possessed compromising information on Clinton and noted ‘the possibility of its being released to [Trump’s] campaign.'”
- Contrary to Republicans’ claims, the DOJ “repeatedly informed the Court about Steele’s background, credibility, and potential bias.”
- In its application for a surveillance warrant, the FBI said that Steele was collecting information about Trump for someone “looking for information that could be used to discredit [Trump’s] campaign.”
- The FBI explained in the application that it deemed Steele as a credible source and that it adequately explained his history in intelligence gathering, source network, the reason why Steele was terminated as an FBI source in October 2016, and the likely political motivations of those who hired Steele to conduct opposition research on Trump.
- The DOJ corroborated some of Steele’s reporting.
Read the full memo:
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