On Friday, House Republicans and Donald Trump decided to release the Nunes memo, which purports to expose corruption and partisanship within the Department of Justice and the FBI. It suggests that surveillance of Carter Page, a one-time adviser to the Trump campaign, was based in part on a dossier funded by Democrats. The memo, taken at face value, falls well short of the hype.
But, in public statements and private comments to the press, Democrats are saying that at least three important claims in the document are incorrect.
Democrats say they have proof of these lies but are being blocked from making that information public. Adam Schiff and other Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee prepared a rebuttal to the Nunes memo with all the relevant facts but Republicans voted against making that document public.
The memo says the Deputy FBI Director testified there would have been no surveillance of Page without the dossier.
The heart of the memo is that the surveillance of Page would not have been possible without the Steele dossier. The memo says, “Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from FISC [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] without the Steele dossier information.” Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee say that is not true.
New: Two Democratic members of House Intel tell me McCabe did not say dossier was basis of FISA warrant, disputing central claim of #NunesMemo
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) February 2, 2018
Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic member, also confirmed that only portions of the dossier were presented to the court and some of that information already had “corroboration.”
The memo says the FBI failed to notify the surveillance court about the funding of the Steele dossier.
The memo says that the surveillance court was not notified that funding for the Steele dossier came from supporters of Hillary Clinton. “The application does not mention Steele was working on behalf of — and paid by — the DNC and the Clinton campaign,” the memo reads. A statement released by Schiff says claims “that the FBI failed to alert the court as to Mr. Steele’s potential political motivations or the political motivations of those who hired him” are “not accurate.”
The memo says that an article by Yahoo News was used to corroborate the Steele dossier.
The memo spends a long time discussing an article in Yahoo News, claiming it was used by the FBI to corroborate the Steele dossier. This is important, according to the memo, because Steele was allegedly a source for the Yahoo News article and, therefore, the corroboration was circular. Schiff’s statement says “this is not at all why the article was referenced.” The statement does not elaborate, presumably because the actual use of the Yahoo News article is still classified.
Schiff’s statement also says there are other inaccuracies in the Republican memo which would be revealed by the rebuttal memo prepared by Democrats.