Republicans split on what the Nunes memo means for Russia probe

Elias Hubbard
February 6, 2018

"We think this will help inform the public of the many distortions and inaccuracies" in the GOP memo released last week, Schiff told reporters after Monday's vote, adding that he was concerned the Trump administration could still try to stymie the Democrats' response.

After the Nunes' memo was released, Trump immediately declared on Twitter that it was evidence that he had been vindicated in the Russian Federation investigation.

If the committee votes to release the Democratic counter memo, the president will need to sign off on its declassification - and Schiff has turned up the pressure on the executive branch to ensure the memorandum sees the light of day. "Their (sic) was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction".

Schiff has slammed the release of a congressional memo that alleges FBI surveillance abuses in an investigation into the Trump campaign's Russian Federation ties.

"There are things in the memo that I would be uncomfortable with if the White House did not redact", he said.

By last Tuesday night, Trump himself was caught on a hot mic committing to releasing the GOP memo, compiled by panel Chairman Devin Nunes and his staff.

The memo's conclusions have raised questions about the legitimacy and legality of certain interactions between the US Department of Justice and the FBI, revealing the violation of surveillance laws in the investigation into the Trump presidential campaign.

Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said Trump's decision to allow the release of the memo was "part of a coordinated propaganda effort to discredit, disable and defeat the Russian Federation investigation".

The partisan fight is likely to continue as Nunes has vowed more reports on alleged politically motivated bias inside the Trump administration.

Former CIA Director John Brennan (Alex Wong/Getty Images), former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former FBI Director James Comey.

Although the document makes a narrow case about the specific practices involving Page, Trump and his supporters also say it suggests a "systemic" pattern of abuse.

Republicans say a judge should have known that "political actors" were involved in allegations that led the Justice Department to believe Page might be an agent of a foreign power - an accusation he has consistently and strenuously denied.

The committee was expected to vote late on Monday on whether to declassify the text, a first step before Mr Trump either permits or blocks its release. He said it laid bare "serious violations of the public trust, and the American people have a right to know when officials in crucial institutions are abusing their authority for political purposes".

"The memo indicates. this investigation didn't begin with Carter Page". The memo is claimed to be providing evidence that the Justice Department, allegedly full of pro-Clinton officials, actively sought to undermine Trump.

Democratic lawmakers opposed to Friday's release of the memo contend that the Republican-approved statement "cherry-picks" information and overstates the importance of the Steele dossier in the FBI's effort to win approval from the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court for the monitoring of Page's activities. It contended a dossier written by former British spy Christopher Steele and financed by Democrats was "an essential part" of a surveillance request submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Page came to the FBI's attention as early as 2013, when he met in NY with Russians who were officers of the Kremlin's foreign intelligence service, sources have said. After the document's release last week, the president quickly seized on it to vent his grievances against the nation's premier law enforcement agencies.

Said Schiff to George Stephanopoulos on ABC News' This Week: "Of course not at all".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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