House Panel Votes to Release Democrats’ Rebuttal to Nunes Memo

WASHINGTON (CN) – Members of the House intelligence committee on Monday voted to release a memo penned by committee Democrats in response to a controversial Republican document accusing the FBI of bias in its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, announced the memo’s release shortly after the vote on Monday evening.

Schiff said the vote, which took place in a meeting closed to the public, was unanimous. Republicans last week blocked a Democratic bid to release the memo alongside the GOP version.

“We think this will help inform the public of the many distortions and inaccuracies in the majority memo,” Schiff told reporters Monday night.

The Democrats’ memo comes in response to a four-page document Republicans – led by Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. – released late last week. Nunes’ memo accused the FBI of leaving out critical information when it applied for a warrant to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The Nunes memo took particular issue with the agency’s use of a document compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele alleging ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

The research that became the document was reportedly initially funded by Republicans, but the Democratic National Committee picked up the tab after Trump won the Republican nomination. The Nunes memo claimed the application for a warrant to surveil Page did not notify the judge who issued the warrant of this funding source.

Democrats have said the Nunes memo did not give the full picture of how the FBI obtained the warrant to put Page under surveillance.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Page first came under FBI scrutiny for his Russia connections in 2013, before he was a member of Trump’s campaign.

The memo also confirmed a New York Times report that the FBI’s initial look into Russian interference in the election was not based on the Steele dossier, but rather came from former Trump campaign staffer George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russian officials.

Schiff said the memo will arrive at the White House later this evening, beginning the five-day period during which President Donald Trump can object to the document’s release. Schiff also said the Department of Justice and the FBI have had the memo for a few days, as Democrats asked for their consultation on its release.

The White House has not publicly indicated whether it will block the memo’s release, but Trump on Monday morning lashed out at Schiff on Twitter, referring to the California Democrat as “little Adam Schiff” and accusing him of leaking “confidential information.”

“Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper!” Trump tweeted. “Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped!”

Shortly after Schiff announced the committee’s vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Trump to release the Democrats’ memo.

“Now that the House Intelligence Committee has acted, the president should move quickly – in conjunction with the DOJ and FBI – and release the Schiff memo, and in turn, provide full transparency to allow the public to make their own judgment on the facts of the case,” Schumer said in a statement. “The president decided the public deserved to see the Nunes memo before he’d even read it, so he ought to be similarly eager for the American people to see this memo.”


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