Democrats Try to Rebut GOP Memo on Russia Probe

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Democrats, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), are seeking clearance to release a rebuttal to the Republican memo on the Russia probe that was released on Friday. President Trump tweeted on Monday that Schiff “is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington … Must be stopped!,” the Associated Press reports. The four-page GOP memo said that House Intelligence Committee findings “raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain [Justice Department] and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).” It cites “a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process,” a reference to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the Washington Post reports. The memo alleges that a surveillance warrant was obtained and renewed on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, based partly on information from Christopher Steele, a former intelligence officer in Britain who had an anti-Trump agenda.

It accuses officials who approved the surveillance applications, including then-FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, of signing off on court surveillance requests that omitted key facts about Steele’s political motivations. The memo says Steele “was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations — an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI.’’ The memo argues that Steele’s contacts with reporters in 2016 “violated the cardinal rule of source handling — maintaining confidentiality — and demonstrated that Steele had become a less than reliable source for the FBI.” In September 2016, according to the memo, Steele admitted that he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”

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