President Trump agreed Saturday to release a redacted version of the Democratic memo that seeks to undercut Republican claims of FBI surveillance abuses.
Democrats on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee defended official investigations into claims of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in the party memo.
The 10-page, partially-redacted document, which was posted to the panel’s website, sharply criticized a previously released Republican memo as a ‘transparent effort to undermine’ investigations by the FBI, Justice Department and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The memo defends the FBI’s obtaining of warrants to conduct temporary surveillance of Carter Page, an associate of President Donald Trump’s election campaign, whom the Democrats say ‘the FBI assessed to be an agent of the Russian government.’
The committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California gave insight into why releasing the highly anticipated memo was important, despite long discussions over what parts to redact.
‘After reviewing the memorandum drafted by committee Republicans that was made public at the beginning of this month, the FBI rightly expressed its ‘grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy,’ Schiff wrote in a press release on the committee’s website.
He went into a point by point explination on what the Republican memo omitted that was cause for concern.
‘The FBI supplied information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that Russia might be colluding with Trump campaign associates. DOJ provided the Court with a comprehensive explanation of Russia’s election interference including evidence that Russia courted another Trump foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos, and that Russian agents previewed their dissemination of information damaging to Hillary Clinton. Russian assistance would, as we would learn in the Papadopoulos plea, take the form of the anonymous disclosure of thousands of Hillary Clinton and DNC emails.’
Moreover, the FBI was concerned about Trump’s campaign adviser Page’s ties to Russia.
‘The FBI had ample reason to believe that Carter Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power based on his history, including the fact that he had previously been a target of Russian recruitment, his travel to Russia, and other information. The renewals of the FISA were also appropriate and based on new information obtained by law enforcement.’
‘The document that we are releasing today is the product of a good faith negotiation between the Minority and the FBI and DOJ.’
‘But it is unfortunate that the weekend release of the Democratic memo by the White House was delayed beyond what was necessary and to the advantage of those seeking to mislead the American public.’
‘Now that the public has a clearer understanding of the early phases of the investigation, it is time for our committee to return to the core investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, the role U.S. persons played in that interference and what we need to do to protect the country going forward,’ Schiff’s release concluded.