A memo drafted by US Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) that counters a similar though less explanatory document released by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Fresno) was released Saturday.
The memo refutes the GOP’s assertion that the FBI was on a witch hunt while trying to obtain a surveillance warrant against Carter Page, an adviser to President Trump, for his ties to Russia.
“The real takeaway is the FBI acted appropriately in that the Russians approached at least two of the Trump campaign foreign policy advisers. In fact, the campaign only had five original advisers, two of them were approached by the Russians, Carter Page and George Papadopolous, and the campaign was made aware that the Russians had stolen Clinton emails very early on,” Schiff said Saturday on CNN.
According to the memo, the FBI was already investigating people on Trump’s team when it received a dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which has been connected to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, alleging ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. This contradicts claims by Republicans that the FBI relied on that dossier — which has not been completely substantiated — as the basis for getting their warrant for Page.
Trump took to Twitter over the weekend to attack the memo.
“The Democrat memo response on government surveillance abuses is a total political and legal bust. Just confirms all of the terrible things that were done. So illegal!”
The Schiff memo also contends the FBI told the court about the political origins of Steele’s work and that his research appeared to be intended for use to discredit Trump’s campaign.
Schiff is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee which is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election that swung the race in Trump’s favor.
Nunes, Schiff’s Republican counterpart, chairs that committee. In January, Nunes issued a memo designed to absolve the president of any part in the plan and place blame on an FBI team out to stop Trump’s campaign.
“What you basically will read in the Democratic memo is they are advocating that it’s OK for the FBI and DOJ to use political dirt paid for by one campaign and use it against the other campaign,” Nunes said.