After weeks of partisan fights, President Trump declassified a GOP-written memo accusing the FBI and Justice Department of abusing their power to gain approval of the surveillance of Carter Page, Trump’s former campaign advisor. Now, the Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee are pushing to publicize another classified memo as a rebuttal to the GOP’s accusations. On Monday, the House Intelligence Committee voted to declassify the memo, giving the Trump White House five days to review it and ultimately decide whether or not to approve its release.
Little is currently know about the contents of this new ten-page memo. The New York Times reports it corrects many assertions in the original memo and would potentially undermine the accusations of misconduct.
The original GOP memo sent shockwaves through Washington since being declassified last Friday, with Republicans claiming it as evidence that the Mueller probe into Trump’s activities is fundamentally tainted, and the Democrats and the FBI criticizing it as widely inaccurate. The four-page document written by House Republicans said their findings “raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain [Justice Department] and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC),” according to the Washington Post.
Trump, who advocated for the document’s release, tweeted out the Saturday following its declassification that the “memo totally vindicates” himself in the Russian investigation. Both the FBI and the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam B. Schiff, say the GOP memo is inaccurate.
With tensions and distrust rising, the declassification of the memos has led to a public dispute between President Trump and Rep. Schiff.
After Trump’s “vindication” tweet Saturday morning, Politico reports Schiff responded on ABC’s “This Week”: “What the memo indicates is the investigation didn’t begin with Carter Page, it actually began with George Papadopoulos, someone who was a foreign policy adviser for candidate Trump and someone who was meeting secretly with the Russians and talking about the stolen Clinton e-mails.”
Trump took to Twitter to attack Schiff, writing ”Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan, and Clapper! Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped!”
“It would be ‘very hard’ for the Trump administration now to block its release,” Schiff told the BBC.