Memo fires back at GOP Russia investigation accusations

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Pictured: Rep. Adam Schiff, author of Democratic response memo Pictured: Rep. Adam Schiff, author of Democratic response memo

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAND) – A newly-released memo on the FBI probe features Democrats fighting back against Republican accusations.

Congress approved the release of the memo Saturday, which is in response to another memo from that GOP regarding an investigation into possible Russian election interference. The Republican document accused the FBI and Justice Department of abusing government surveillance powers when it gathered information from surveillance of Carter Page, who worked as an aid on President Donald Trump’s campaign team.

The GOP memo was critical of how the FBI compiled its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application for a secret warrant to survey Page, saying it questioned the “legitimacy and legality” of a dossier on the president created by former British spy Christopher Steele. The dossier played a role in the FBI application, but the GOP says the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign financed it.

Democrats argued the GOP memo "cherry-picked" details and was misleading as a whole.

The White House and Democratic leaders went back-and-forth on the response memo, which came out after the president’s administration said the document raised national security concerns. The response, written by House Intelligence Committee leader Rep. Adam Schiff, says the GOP allegations were “a transparent effort to undermine” the FBI and Department of Justice. It says the DOJ followed the right protocol in investigating Page, who it claims the FBI believed was a Russian agent.

“DOJ met the rigor, transparency and evidentiary basis needed to meet FISA's probable cause requirement,” the memo says, by demonstrating Page’s history with Russia, evidence of election interference, and evidence of Russian outreach to people on the president’s campaign team.

The White House rejected the Democratic memo on Feb. 9. Democrats started working with the FBI and Justice Department on changes after that time.

The president argued the GOP memo “vindicates” him from accusations of collusion in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible hacking.

Schiff issued a statement to NBC News on Saturday about the memo. 

"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 FISA," Schiff said. "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 White House has since fired back at Democrats. 

"This politically driven document fails to answer serious concerns raised by the Majority’s memorandum about the use of partisan opposition research from one candidate, loaded with uncorroborated allegations, as a basis to ask a court to approve surveillance of a former associate of another candidate, at the height of a presidential campaign," Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Read both memos in their entirety below.

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