Following three weeks of delay from the White House and Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee, the Democratic response to Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) controversial memo has finally been released, and it directly rebuts every point from the GOP memo.
“The memo reveals that the FBI had already launched investigations into members of the Trump team prior to receiving a dossier of allegations about Trump’s ties to the Kremlin, which the president has long derided as a fiction. The dossier was financed by the campaign of Hillary Clinton, leading Republicans to allege that the FBI’s Russia investigation was prompted in part by political opposition research.”
The dossier in question, compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, alleged that Trump had been compromised financially and personally by members of Russian intelligence and was therefore subject to blackmail.
Another contention of the Nunes memo was that surveillance warrants issued by FISA courts had been obtained improperly. But the Democratic countermemo notes that the warrants issued for surveillance of former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page were overseen and renewed by four separate federal judges, all of whom were appointed by Republican presidents.
The lead Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, released a statement with the partially redacted memo which read:
“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. 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.”
Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Committee’s (CPAC) annual meeting, Nunes again alleged that Democrats were trying to cover up abuses by the FBI:
“We think it is clear that the Democrats are not not only trying to cover it up, but are colluding with parts of the government to help cover this up. As you read it, you will see personal attacks on myself and chairman [Rep. Trey] Gowdy with a lot of interesting things that sound really bad, like a lot that has been happening with this Russian investigation over the course of the last year, but what you’re not going to see is anything that actually rejects what was in our memo.”
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