White House, Schiff spar over Dems' surveillance memo

The White House and the top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee sparred Saturday over the release of the memo by Democrats regarding the alleged surveillance abuses in the Russia investigation.

“Some time ago, Republicans on our committee released a declassified memo that omitted and distorted key facts in order to mislead the public and impugn the integrity of the FBI,” said California Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee’s top Democrat. “We can now tell you what they left out.”

Schiff led efforts to release the memo, a rebuttal to the one Republican leaders of the GOP-controlled committee released earlier this month.

The memo alleged that the Justice Department obtained a surveillance warrant on one-time Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, based on a loosely verified anti-Trump dossier, paid for at least in part by Democrats, including the 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. The warrant request was made to the federal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Trump allowed the release of the Republican and Democratic memos.

“While the Democrats’ memorandum attempts to undercut the president politically, the president supported its release in the interest of transparency,” the White House said Saturday, after the memo was released.

“Nevertheless, this politically driven document fails to answer serious concerns raised by the (GOP’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.

“As the majority’s memorandum stated, the FISA judge was never informed that Hillary Clinton and the (Democratic National Committee) funded the dossier that was a basis for the Department of Justice’s FISA application. In addition, the minority’s memo fails to even address the fact that the deputy FBI director told the committee that had it not been for the dossier, no surveillance order would have been sought. As the president has long stated, neither he nor his campaign ever colluded with a foreign power during the 2016 election, and nothing in today’s memo counters that fact.”

California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the Intelligence committee, said Saturday: “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.”