There's another memo in town.
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted Monday evening to release a Democratic memo that refutes the allegations against the FBI made in their own memo, which was released last Friday. The decision is an about-face — just one week ago, Republicans voted not to release the Democratic memo and only released their own.
California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, who created the memo, told reporters after the Monday vote that Republicans had found themselves in an “unsupportable position.”
“I think they were compelled to take the acton they did today, and we think this will be very useful information for the American people to see,” Schiff said.
Now, Schiff told reporters, the Democratic memo is headed to President Donald Trump’s desk for approval to be released. The Department of Justice and FBI will have a chance to review the memo and let the committee know if they need to redact any portion of the memo, he added, in order to keep the White House from making politically-motivated redactions “to protect itself.”
Trump has until Friday to decide whether the public will be able to see the memo.
The 10-page classified memo by Schiff, the ranking member on the committee, is meant to defend the FBI and call out what Democrats say is an attempt to undermine the agency’s investigation of the president and his 2016 campaign.
Republicans, led by the committee chairman California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, say FBI investigators relied too heavily on a controversial dossier funded by Trump’s political opponents when they sought permission from a judge to surveil former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page in 2016.
For two weeks Republicans drummed up support for the allegations on social media and Fox News calling on lawmakers to show the information to the public using the hashtag #releasethememo. Their memo published previously classified information about the FBI’s petition to surveil Page.
But Schiff and other Democrats called the Republican document a “spin memo” and said Nunes cherry-picked information to mislead the public.
One key omission in the Republican memo is that the FBI was already surveilling Page two years before 2016, when the controversial dossier surfaced. It also doesn’t name the different judges who repeatedly approved the surveillance authorizations, nor does it describe all of the information presented to those judges.
Trump said Saturday the Republican memo vindicated him. He has not yet weighed in on the Democratic memo.
Carter Sherman contributed reporting.