The White House is reviewing a memo written by Democratic lawmakers on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence regarding the Russia investigation to determine whether to make it public.
Last week, President Trump made public a memo written by Republicans on the committee that detailed alleged surveillance abuses by the FBI and Justice Department in its probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Trump has said the memo “totally vindicates” him of any wrongdoing in the probe.
The House Intelligence Committee approved the release of the rebuttal, giving Trump five days to decide whether to declassify it. Here’s what to look for if he does.
California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, said he is wary that Trump could make redactions in the document for “political purposes.”
However, Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, has said the memo contains information that he would be “uncomfortable” with not being redacted by the White House.
‘Bolster’ FBI credibility
The original memo said ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s controversial dossier – a 35-page document compiled for the firm Fusion GPS – was the catalyst for a surveillance warrant to spy on Carter Page, a former foreign adviser to Trump.
The surveillance warrant and renewals did not mention that the dossier was paid for, at least in part, by the Democratic National Committee and the campaign for Hillary Clinton, according to the memo spearheaded by Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif.
But Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., told Fox News the Democrats’ document “bolsters” the FBI’s credibility in the Russia probe. He said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was given a “voluminous amount” of evidence to obtain the warrant to spy on Page.
Contradict Nunes’ memo
Swalwell also said the FISA court was aware of the “likely political motivation” behind the dossier – a direct contradiction of what the Republicans’ memo detailed.
“The court weighed that and still granted the application,” Swalwell said. “There was a bias, but the evidence was so overwhelming, the application was granted anyway.”
Schiff said his party’s memo will “help inform the public of the many distortions and inaccuracies in the majority memo.”
Further politicization of the probe
The Democrats’ memo is largely seen as a rebuttal to last week’s document, furthering the partisan divide on the House Intelligence Committee.
The committee unanimously voted to release the Democrats’ rebuttal, but expect heavy scrutiny of it from some Republicans. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., has already said the memo is not accurate for “a million different reasons,” Politico reported.
Review by FBI and DOJ
The Democrats’ memo has been shared with the FBI and Justice Department – something Republicans did not do before releasing their document, Schiff said, according to Politico.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.