Intel committee releases Democratic response memo

By Susan McFarland  |  Updated Feb. 24, 2018 at 7:24 PM
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Feb. 24 (UPI) -- The House Intelligence Committee on Saturday released a redacted rebuttal to the Republican intelligence memo, a document written by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes that claims FBI surveillance abuses.

Citing sensitive information that needed to be redacted, Trump had blocked release of the Democratic rebuttal memo, which responds to the Republican memo alleging Justice Department surveillance abuses.

The Repubican memo accuses the FBI of abusing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to obtain a warrant to place surveillance on Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser on Trump's campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

Republicans say the memo reveals high-level corruption in the FBI and proves the investigation into alleged Russian influence of Trump's campaign was influenced by partisan politics.

Democrats say the Republican memo is misleading and omits key facts. The FBI expressed "grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy," according to a statement by Rep. Adam Schiff, House intelligence committee ranking Democrat.

"The Democratic response memo released today should put to rest any concerns that the American people might have as to the conduct of the FBI, the Justice Department and the FISC," Schiff said. "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 FBI and DOJ made extensive showings to justify all four requests."

Trump tweeted about the Democrat memo, saying "the response on government surveillance abuses is a total political and legal BUST. Just confirms all of the terrible things that were done. SO ILLEGAL!"

A statement by the White House said "nothing in the Democratic memo counters Trump's statements that neither he nor his campaign colluded with Russia."

"While the Democrats' memorandum attempts to undercut the President politically, the President supported its release in the interest of transparency," the statement read. "Nevertheless, this politically driven document fails to answer serious concerns raised by the Majority's memorandum about the use of partisan opposition research from one candidate, loaded with uncorroborated allegations, as a basis to ask a court to approve surveillance of a former associate of another candidate, at the height of a presidential campaign."

A statement by Nunes said the Democrat memo "represents a lengthy but wholly unpersuasive attempt to distract from the Committee's key findings on FISA abuse, Nunes also offers a point by point refutation on House Intelligence Committee website.

"The American people now clearly understand that the FBI used political dirt paid for by the Democratic Party to spy on an American citizen from the Republican Party," Nunes said. "Furthermore, the FISA court was misled about Mr. Page's past interactions with the FBI in which he helped build a case against Russian operatives in America who were brought to justice. It defies belief that the Department of Justice and FBI failed to provide information to a secret court that they had provided to an open federal court regarding their past interactions with Mr. Page."

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