VOA: White House Releases Democrats' Memo on Russia Probes25 February 2018 | 14:52 | FOCUS News Agency
The release of the Democratic memo came three weeks after the release of the Republican version of events, which was compiled by staffers of House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes of California.
Saturday's release followed negotiations between the FBI and the House intelligence committee's top Democrat, Adam Schiff of California, over what information should not be released.
The Republican memo alleged that the FBI suppressed information about Democratic ties to an opposition research dossier used to obtain a federal warrant for surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.
Schiff, who wrote the Democratic memo, and fellow Democrats on the intelligence panel alleged that the Republican version of the story omitted and misrepresented facts. They also accused President Donald Trump of ignoring concerns about disclosing sensitive information when releasing the Republican version of the memo, while holding the Democratic one for political reasons rather than security concerns.
FBI Director Christopher Wray had also expressed concerns about the Republican memo, saying it left out key information.
Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon, shortly after the memo's release, "The Democrat memo response on government surveillance abuses is a total political and legal BUST. Just confirms all of the terrible things that were done. SO ILLEGAL!"
Nunes also released a statement, saying, "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. 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."
Nunes also addressed the issue in an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Cconference, which was taking place in the Maryland suburbs of Washington on Saturday, at the same time the memo was released.
"We wanted it out," he said, referring to the Democratic memo. "We want it out because we think it is clear evidence that the Democrats are not only trying to cover this up, but they're also colluding with parts of the government to help cover this up. ... What you basically read in the Democratic memo is, they are advocating that it's OK for the FBI and DOJ [Department of Justice] to use political dirt paid for by one campaign, and use it against the other campaign."
The Democratic memo says the dossier at issue was not the only reason for the FBI's investigation of ties to Russia from the Trump presidential campaign, and was far from being the only source of evidence for three renewals of the FBI warrant for surveillance of Page, the Trump adviser.
The memo says in bold type, "FISA [the federal warrant process] was not used to spy on Trump or his campaign."
It also says the FBI did not rely on the opposition research done by the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton and did not pay the researcher, a former British spy named Christopher Steele, for any reporting.
The Democrats also say in their memo that Nunes' Republican version of the story "draws selectively on highly sensitive classified information" and "includes other distortions and misrepresentations that are contradicted by the underlying classified documents."
The memo says the "vast majority" of committee members and members of the House of Representatives have not had the opportunity to review those documents. And it asserts that Nunes "chose not to read" the documents himself, echoing earlier reports that Nunes left the bulk of the work on the memo to members of his staff.
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