Republican leaders are acknowledging that the FBI disclosed the political origins of a private dossier the bureau cited in an application to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, undermining a controversial GOP memo released Friday and fueling Democratic demands to declassify more information about the bureau’s actions.
At issue is whether the federal probe into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties is infected with political bias, as Republicans say — or whether the GOP is using deceitful tactics to quash the probe, as Democrats insist.
Democrats pounced on public comments over the past day by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and intelligence committee member Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), arguing that the GOP memo’s failure to mention a key footnote in the FBI application shows how the party has cherry-picked classified facts to protect President Donald Trump.
To provide a fuller picture, intelligence committee Democrats insist, House Republicans must vote on Monday to release a classified 11-page rebuttal they wrote to the GOP memo.
While Republicans say their memo, orchestrated by Nunes and released with President Donald Trump’s backing, demonstrates anti-Trump bias at the FBI and Justice Department that calls into question the entire Russia investigation, Democrats say Republicans committed the very sin — omitting crucial facts — of which they accuse the FBI.
If the House votes to release the Democratic memo, Trump will have five days to review it and either support its release — as he did the Republican memo — or object.
White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters on Monday that the administration would go through the same process it used to decide whether to release the memo authored by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. But he declined to say where the president was leaning and White House officials said they could not predict Trump’s ultimate decision.