The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) finally released the Democratic rebuttal to the GOP FISA memo moments before HPSCI Chairman Devin Nunes took the stage at CPAC late Saturday afternoon.
Also known as “the Schiff memo,” the rebuttal claims that officials at the FBI and Justice Department “did not abuse the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process, omit material information, or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign.”
The Democratic memo was delayed after it was voted out of committee earlier this month because “the Justice Department and FBI claimed the initial draft would reveal information about sources and methods, ongoing investigations, and other sensitive information.”
It took Schiff and Co. over two weeks to make the necessary redactions.
CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp asked Nunes what he could tell the CPAC audience about the memo.
Nunes joked that it was just posted, but the website had probably crashed already due to “Russian bots.”
“We wanted it out,” Nunes said. “We think it is clear evidence that the Democrats are not only trying to cover this up, but they’re also colluding with parts of the government to help cover this up.”
“I think as you read it, you will see personal attacks on myself, personal attacks on Chairman Gowdy, with a lot of really interesting things that sound really bad — like a lot that has been happening with this Russian investigation over the course of this last year. But what you’re not going to see is anything that actually rejects what was in our memo.”
Nunes pointed out that the whole point of his memo was “to show that FISA abuse had occurred,” which he noted was “totally unacceptable.” He added that it was the legislative branch’s job to provide oversight on government abuse.
Nunes said that in the Democratic memo, “they are advocating that it’s okay for the FBI and DOJ to use political dirt, paid for by one campaign — and use it against the other campaign. I don’t care who you are — a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent — in the United States of America, that is unacceptable.”
Nunes shot down one of the points in the Democratic memo which he said “they’re all hot to talk about.”
“In a footnote before the FISA court, they had put in a very convoluted, complicated answer for something that’s buried at the end… of the application… that this was politically motivated,” Nunes said.
“Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier just to say, ‘Hey, Mr. Judge, we want to let you know that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party paid a lawyer who hired a firm who hired a foreign agent to go to the Russians and get dirt on Mr. Trump,” the congressman argued. “It would have been a lot easier just to do that. We are not going to have a FISA court in this country any longer if the FBI and DOJ are going to continue to obfuscate like that.”