- Investigations into Russian Interference « The Democratic Response Memo (Released Feb. 24, 2018)
(Released Feb. 2, 2018)
HPSCI Ranking Member Adam Schiff
February 24, 2018
Intel Committee Ranking Member Schiff Releases Democratic Response MemoWashington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement:
“After reviewing the memorandum drafted by committee Republicans that was made public at the beginning of this month, the FBI rightly expressed its ‘grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy.’
“Here are some of the material facts the Majority deliberately omitted:
· The FBI supplied information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that Russia might be colluding with Trump campaign associates. DOJ provided the Court with a comprehensive explanation of Russia’s election interference including evidence that Russia courted another Trump foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos, and that Russian agents previewed their dissemination of information damaging to Hillary Clinton. Russian assistance would, as we would learn in the Papadopoulos plea, take the form of the anonymous disclosure of thousands of Hillary Clinton and DNC emails.
· The FBI had ample reason to believe that Carter Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power based on his history, including the fact that he had previously been a target of Russian recruitment, his travel to Russia, and other information. The renewals of the FISA were also appropriate and based on new information obtained by law enforcement.
· The FBI did disclose that those who employed Christopher Steele were likely motivated to discredit Trump’s presidential campaign. The Bureau used proper masking procedures so as not to reveal the identities of U.S. persons not subject to the FISA, but made clear that the likely purpose was opposition research.
· Contrary to the Majority’s assertions, the FBI and DOJ did not use a Yahoo News article to corroborate Steele; it was referenced alongside another article and a letter Page wrote to then FBI Director James Comey to inform the court of Page’s public denials.
“The Democratic response memo released today should put to rest any concerns that the American people might have as to the conduct of the FBI, the Justice Department and the FISC. Our extensive review of the initial FISA application and three subsequent renewals failed to uncover any evidence of illegal, unethical, or unprofessional behavior by law enforcement and instead revealed that both the FBI and DOJ made extensive showings to justify all four requests.
"The document that we are releasing today is the product of a good faith negotiation between the Minority and the FBI and DOJ. But it is unfortunate that the weekend release of the Democratic memo by the White House was delayed beyond what was necessary and to the advantage of those seeking to mislead the American public. From the beginning, the HPSCI Minority expressed its support for any limited redactions to protect sources and methods, as well as sensitive ongoing investigative equities, and these redactions were agreed to at the expert level over a week ago.
“Now that the public has a clearer understanding of the early phases of the investigation, it is time for our committee to return to the core investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, the role U.S. persons played in that interference and what we need to do to protect the country going forward.”
The memo is available here and here. A fact sheet from HPSCI Minority is here. The accompanying letter sent by the Department of Justice is here.
Donald J. TrumpVerified account @realDonaldTrump 7:56 PM - 24 Feb 2018
“Congressman Schiff omitted and distorted key facts” @FoxNews So, what else is new. He is a total phony!
Donald J. TrumpVerified account @realDonaldTrump 6:44 PM - 24 Feb 2018
“Russians had no compromising information on Donald Trump” @FoxNews Of course not, because there is none, and never was. This whole Witch Hunt is an illegal disgrace...and Obama did nothing about Russia!
Donald J. TrumpVerified account @realDonaldTrump 6:20 PM - 24 Feb 2018
Dem Memo: FBI did not disclose who the clients were - the Clinton Campaign and the DNC. Wow!
Donald J. TrumpVerified account @realDonaldTrump 6:16 PM - 24 Feb 2018
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!
U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes
Washington, February 24, 2018
Nunes Statement on Release of Democrat Memo
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes issued the following statement today on the release of the Committee minority’s memo:
“The American people now clearly understand that the FBI used political dirt paid for by the Democratic Party to spy on an American citizen from the Republican Party. Furthermore, the FISA court was misled about Mr. Page’s past interactions with the FBI in which he helped build a case against Russian operatives in America who were brought to justice. It defies belief that the Department of Justice and FBI failed to provide information to a secret court that they had provided to an open federal court regarding their past interactions with Mr. Page.”
For key points on the Democrats’ memo, click here[see directly below]. For a point by point refutation, click here. For the Democrat memo, click here or here.
HVC 304, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515
The Democrats’ Memo: Key Points
The Democrat memo represents a lengthy but wholly unpersuasive attempt to distract from the Committee’s key findings on FISA abuse—which were confirmed by Senators Grassley and Graham’s criminal referral to the Department of Justice (DOJ) of Christopher Steele.
The Democrat memo ignores the fact that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton campaign paid for the Steele dossier, which—as confirmed by the Graham-Grassley referral—formed the “a significant portion” of the Carter Page FISA application. Amazingly, the Democrat memo does not contain a single reference to the DNC or Clinton campaign, or acknowledge that they funded the dossier, or admit that this information was not provided to the FISA Court.
The Democrat memo confirms that a September 2016 Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff was part of the FISA application. However, the memo ignores that the FBI failed to subsequently inform the Court that Steele provided information to Yahoo News. Isikoff has publicly confirmed Steele was a source for his article about Page.
The Democrat memo claims FBI had a “reasonable basis for finding Steele credible.” As explained in Graham-Grassley referral, Steele “told the FBI he had not shared the Carter Page dossier information beyond [Fusion GPS] and FBI”; DOJ “repeated that claim to the FISC”—four times. In reality, by September 2016—before the initial FISA application—Steele had personally shared dossier information with numerous media outlets, senior DOJ and State Department officials, and the DNC’s law firm.
The Democrat memo—like the FISA application—paints an incomplete picture of Page’s past activities, and omits that, in a secretly-taped statement reproduced in a 2015 federal court filing, a Russian intelligence officer called Page “an idiot.” It is extremely troubling that DOJ failed to provide to a secret court significant information from a public court filing.
The Democrat memo suggests that information from the DNC- and Clinton campaign-funded dossier about specific meetings held by Page in Moscow was corroborated. Nothing in the initial application corroborated these claims about Page, which—to this day—have not been confirmed.
The Democrat memo was subject to the same executive branch review process as the Committee’s memo on FISA abuse. Like the Grassley-Graham referral, the Democrat memo has redactions—which is not surprising given that the 10-page Democrat memo contains much more classified information, including information implicating sources and methods, than the GOP’s declassified 4-page memo.
Messaging on House Intelligence Committee Democrat MemoDoes this show that the Nunes memo is wrong?
DOJ apparently never divulged to the FISA court that information
compiled by Christopher Steele – which was a basis for an application
for surveillance of a former Trump campaign advisor – was funded by the
Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
- Law enforcement officials knew that Steele adamantly opposed Donald Trump – he said, for example, that he was “desperate” to derail Trump’s candidacy – but DOJ apparently did not include this information in its FISA applications.
- Then-FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe testified before the Intelligence Committee that FBI would not have sought FISA surveillance without the Steele dossier information.
- The wife of a now-demoted DOJ official, Bruce Ohr, worked for the DNC - and Clinton - funded firm compiling the Steele dossier (Fusion GPS) and in that capacity helped perform opposition research on Donald Trump, and Ohr himself has a relationship with Steele.
- Democrats should welcome sunlight on potential abuses of the FISA court – it is imperative that law enforcement officials exercise their authorities impartially and fairly.Where there is a reason to believe they have acted out of political spite – for example, to affect an election or reverse its results – the facts and circumstances must be thoroughly and promptly investigated.
- Far from it. The revelations of the Nunes memo are deeply troubling. What is more, they are of a piece with broader issues that Congress and other appropriate authorities should fully investigate, including:
tainted by improper
political motives, as evidenced by text messages between FBI agent
Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page that include expletive-laden
insults against Donald Trump’s candidacy and a reference to an
“insurance policy” in the event of a Trump victory.
performed by Strzok
Steele’s potentially misleading and untruthful statements to Congress; the FBI’s continued reliance on the Steele dossier despite terminating Steele as a source; and Steele’s own connections to Russian operatives and the extent to which the Clinton campaign and DNC may have supported these connections.
Irregularities in Congress’s investigation, including efforts by Democratic members to obtain information from Ukrainian and Russian sources.
- Congress’s continued failure to get to the bottom of the Clinton email scandal, particularly in light of concerns that improper political considerations may have influenced senior law enforcement officials’ decisions with respect to the handling of that matter.
- The President has always been inclined to declassify the memo. But the Democrats appear to have deliberately included sensitive national security and law enforcement information that they knew would have to be redacted in the hopes of gaining a political talking point.
- Democrats should have followed the example of their Republican colleagues and removed sensitive information from day one – but they didn’t, forcing the President to send it back so that the appropriate redactions to protect the national security could be made
Shouldn’t the President have declassified the Democrat memo when it was first sent to him?
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), HPSCI Ranking Member
Washington, February 10, 2018
Intel Committee Ranking Member Schiff Statement on MemoLos Angeles, CA – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement:
“One week ago, the Department of Justice and FBI implored the White House not to release a deeply flawed and inaccurate memo prepared by Chairman Devin Nunes. The White House ignored their concerns and approved the publication of the Republican memo with no redactions even though the action was described by the agencies as extraordinarily reckless and omitting material facts.
“The Democratic response sets out the material facts that were necessary for the public to see that the FBI acted properly in seeking a FISA warrant on Carter Page. After promising to treat the Democratic response in precisely the same way, the White House now seeks to have the Democratic memo sent back to committee and revised by the same Majority that produced the flawed Nunes document to begin with.
“The Democratic members of our committee take seriously the concerns of the DOJ and FBI, which is why we both urged the Majority against this course in the first place and why we provided our document to the DOJ and FBI for vetting even before it was voted out of committee. We will be reviewing the recommended redactions from DOJ and FBI, which these agencies shared with the White House, and look forward to conferring with the agencies to determine how we can properly inform the American people about the misleading attack on law enforcement by the GOP and address any concerns over sources and methods.
“We hope this matter can be quickly resolved so the committee can return to its charge — fully investigating the Russian interference in our election and the role of the Trump campaign, and what steps need to be taken to protect against foreign interference in the next election, now only months away.”