Schiff’s response to Republican memo claims it was purposefully misleading
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia/Cliff | Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) released a redacted version of a memo in response to the one released a few weeks ago by Republicans. The memo was only approved after being heavily redacted. In the memo, Schiff claims the Republican memo, released by Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), was intentionally misleading and left out a number of facts.
Late Saturday afternoon, House Democrats were able to release a redacted version of Representative Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) rebuttal to Representative Devin Nunes’s (R-Calif.) memo, which alleged the FBI abused its power during the Russia investigation. Schiff’s memo argues that Nunes’s memo was purposefully misleading and attempted to include facts that were allegedly left out.
“I think that while transparency in the government is important, these memos show the importance on the parties needing to agree on what the facts are,” sophomore Santiago Alvarez said. “We shouldn’t try to select the facts to paint a picture that only we want to see.”
Nunes’s memo, which was released earlier this month, claimed that the FBI used former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele’s dossier as the central part in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) application for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Republicans believe that since the FBI did not reveal that the Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee partly funded the dossier, it should have not been used in the application.
Schiff acknowledged that while the FBI did use the dossier in the application, it only used claims that Page had met with a Kremlin official as well as with an associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin in a July 2016 trip to Moscow. The dossier alleged that Page took the trip in an attempt to find dirt on 2016 Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. The Democrat’s memo also stated that the Department of Justice (DOJ) “provided additional information obtained through multiple independent sources that corroborated Steele’s reporting” in renewals of the application.
Republicans also allege that the FBI and senior DOJ officials kept political motivations behind the memo a secret from the court during the application process. However, Schiff called the claim misleading because the judges were told of a political motive, though not with specific names. It provided an excerpt from the memo, which stated Steele had been paid by someone who was “likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s (Trump) campaign.”
However, Nunes’s memo claims that the FBI should have terminated Steele after leaking information to Yahoo News in September 2016. Republicans believe the FBI used this article as improper corroboration, even though it was later revealed that Steele was a source for it. Democrats call this a false claim. Instead, the DOJ used the Yahoo article “not to provide separate corroboration for Steele’s reporting, but instead to inform the court of Page’s public denial of his suspected meetings in Moscow,” according to their rebuttal.
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In September 2016, Steele admitted to Bruce Ohr, former director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement task force, his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” This evidence of Steele’s bias was recorded by Ohr and subsequently appeared in official FBI files — but it was not reflected in any of the Page FISA applications. Nunes also states Ohr’s wife was employed by Fusion GPS, the company that took money from the Clinton campaign and paid for part of the dossier, meaning that FBI had known Steele’s bias in its official files, even though it was not reflected in the FISA application.
Democrats say that this claim is misleading and that “the Majority mischaracterizes Bruce Ohr’s role, overstates the significance of his interactions with Steele and misleads about the timeframe of Ohr’s communication with the FBI. In late November 2016, Ohr informed the FBI of his prior professional relationship with Steele and information that Steele shared with him (including Steele’s concern about Trump being compromised by Russia).”
It goes on to state that Ohr was somehow involved in the FISA application process, without any indication of that being true.
Both memos do agree that the Steele dossier is not what started the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation. The Republican memo states that it began with an investigation into Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. The Democrat’s memo does not mention Papadopoulos, but instead states that the Steele information did not reach the Russian investigation at FBI headquarters until mid-2016.
The White House approved the heavily redacted memo, with President Donald Trump saying in a tweet that “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!” He also retweeted a phone interview he did with Fox News where he stated that “A lot of bad things happened on the other side, not on this side, but the other side. And somebody should look into it because what they did was really fraudulent.”
The memo release coincides with several new indictments during the Russia investigation, including former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates, who pled guilty in a deal to offer incriminating evidence against former Trump Campaign chair Paul Manafort. While the Russia investigation is ongoing, Washington will be dealing with other issues this week, including DACA and gun regulation measures.
By: Jack Dunn ~Staff Writer~
Categories: U.S. & World News