By: Sinclair Broadcast Group and the Associated Press
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group/ AP) - The White House says a Democratic memo rebutting GOP claims of surveillance abuses in the FBI's Russia investigation fails to answer serious questions.
President Donald Trump tweeted calling the Democrat memo release a "total and legal BUST."
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2018
Dem Memo: FBI did not disclose who the clients were - the Clinton Campaign and the DNC. Wow!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2018
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says questions raised by a memo released earlier by Republicans on the House intelligence committee cover the use of partisan opposition research from one candidate as the basis for asking a federal court to approve surveillance of a former associate of a rival candidate.
Sanders says the Democratic memo is "politically driven."She says nothing in the memo counters the fact, as the president has been insisting, that neither he nor his campaign ever colluded with a foreign power during the 2016 election.
The White House objected to its release Feb. 9, citing national security concerns. Democrats have since negotiated with the FBI on what material should be blacked out.
Earlier Saturday, Ranking Member of the House Intel Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D- Calif, tweeted the memo, explaining "we can now tell you what they (Republicans) left out.
In a response to the release by Democrats, Republican Chair of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., issued a statement on the Committee's web page.
“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,” the statement read. The Republicans also released a point by point refutation on the Democrats memo.
Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Sen.Mark Warner, D - V.a., called the release an opertunity to give Americans an accurate picture of the actions taken by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
"It is deeply unfortunate that House Republicans decided to the release classified information in order to mislead the American people for partisan political purposes. Americans deserve an accurate picture of the actions taken by the FBI, which were fully appropriate and entirely lawful. This memo makes clear that there is no reasonable basis to suggest otherwise, except to undermine the Special Counsel’s investigation. Now that the Nunes memo has been thoroughly debunked, the White House and its allies in Congress must put a stop to the dangerous partisan sideshows that jeopardize classified sources and methods and focus on Russia’s unprecedented interference in our election, which is a real and ongoing threat to our national security," Warner said.
House Minority Leader Nacy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the memo release was "setting the record straight on Republicans' attempts to obstruct the investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal."
CBS News tweeted a statement from Carter Page on the memo.
"Today's latest memo further underscores the critical importance of the immediate disclosure of all my FISA applications and other relevant documents, as requested by the House Intelligence Committee," Page said in the statement.
Carter Page releases statement in response to Democratic memo: “This new round of misinformation surrounding efforts by Washington to illegally influence the 2016 election inflicts even more damages on the instigating perpetrators from the swamp.” https://t.co/DglCkNboEr pic.twitter.com/kQvknOux2j— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 24, 2018
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, said she believes the release of the memo by the House Intelligence Committee Dems will help "Americans understand why the Nunes memo was wrong."
The Schiff memo is a well-considered rebuttal to the misinformation in the Nunes memo. As I said when it was released, the Nunes memo was an attempt to undermine the Steele dossier and Robert Mueller’s investigation, and it shouldn’t have seen the light of day.— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) February 24, 2018
Rep. Joaquin Castro, D- Texas, member of the House Intelligence Committee released a statement.
The memo " clarifies that the counterintelligence investigation began with George Papadapolous; clear up any confusion about the FBI's interest in Carter Page; demonstrates FBI and DOJ's full transparency om the FISA court; and corrects numerous unfounded attacks against FBI and DOJ professionals,"Castro stated.
Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin, R- N.Y., said the FISA collection "on an American citizen is an extremely powerful tool & any abuse of that process is a massive problem that requires transparency, accountability & solutions."
FISA collection on an American citizen is an extremely powerful tool & any abuse of that process is a massive problem that requires transparency, accountability & solutions. Addressing this issue should be of concern for any American, regardless of one's political affiliation.— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) February 24, 2018
Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-N.Y., called Saturday a "good day for transparency."
Today is a good day for transparency – and an alarming reminder that the Trump White House is willing to engage in obstruction of justice in real time.— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) February 24, 2018