House committee votes to release Democrats' counter-memo

House Intelligence Committee votes to release memo drafted by Democrats to rebut Republican document alleging bias against Trump.

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Ben Ariel,

U.S. Capitol building
U.S. Capitol building

The House Intelligence Committee on Monday voted unanimously to release a memo drafted by Democrats to rebut a Republican document released last week and which alleged there were surveillance abuses at the Department of Justice (DOJ), reported The Hill.

The 10-page classified document now goes to President Trump, who has five days to block its release if he so chooses.

Trump on Friday declassified the Republican document, which was drafted for House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA).

The Republican memo accuses senior Justice Department officials of improperly using information from the so-called Steele dossier to obtain surveillance warrants on Carter Page, a member of the Trump transition team and former Trump adviser.

The document claims that although the FBI had "clear evidence" that the author of the dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele, was biased against then-candidate Trump, it did not convey this to the surveillance court when making its warrant applications.

Trump later wrote on Twitter that the memo “totally vindicates” him in the ongoing investigation into his campaign’s alleged links to Russia.

The Nunes memo alleged that senior DOJ officials inappropriately relied on the research, paid for in part by Hillary Clinton, to obtain a surveillance warrant on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. It claims that without the Steele dossier, no surveillance warrants would have been sought.

The Democratic memo is expected to lay out a point-by-point rebuttal of the assertions in the Nunes memo and make the case that the FBI had good reason to spy on Page as part of the counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign, according to The Hill.

The White House has signaled that it is open to allowing the release of the Democratic memo, but included a caveat for national security protections.

“The administration stands ready to work with Congress to accommodate oversight requests consistent with applicable standards, including the need to protect intelligence sources and methods,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in reference to the Democrats' memo.