Published: Wed, February 07, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

US Intelligence Committee unanimously votes to make Democratic memo public


Key Democrats are seeking to put out the document, including the Senate's Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of NY, who urged Mr Trump to back the public release and said that refusing to do so would show the president's intent to undermine the investigation into Russian election interference.

The House intelligence panel on Monday voted unanimously to make public the Democratic rebuttal to the GOP's memo on the Russian Federation investigation.

The memo's arrival at the White House late Monday set in motion a five-day clock for the White House and key law enforcement and intelligence agencies to review the memo to determine whether it is appropriate to declassify the document.

An official said Sunday that the White House was open to releasing the Democratic memo pending an examination to protect intelligence sources and methods. It's potentially larger because of what the Republican allegations say about the process for obtaining Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants.

The President tweeted on Monday: "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!" On Monday, Trump took a shot on Twitter at the Intelligence Committee's ranking member, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

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He did not elaborate on what Mr Schiff was leaking. It discusses how the FISA warrants to target Page were based largely on information from a list of unproven allegations about Trump that were compiled by a former British intelligence agent paid by Democrats.

Following Monday's vote, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the administration will follow the same procedure for reviewing the Schiff memo as it did the Nunes one last week.

For example, the memo focuses on evidence presented to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to win approval for electronic surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

"To say that that's the end of the investigation, that this is all that (President) Donald Trump needs to fire (Deputy Attorney General Rod) Rosenstein or to fire (special counsel Robert) Mueller, I'll just tell you, this could precipitate a constitutional crisis", Senator Dick Durbin told CNN on Sunday.

Of course, Trump used the release of the memo to claim "complete vindication" and complained "the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on".

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Fifty-two percent of all adults said they believed Trump or someone from his campaign worked with Russian Federation to influence the election and that it was likely "authorities will find evidence of an illegal relationship between the Trump administration and Russian Federation".

Democrats have said the memo corrects mischaracterizations by the Republicans and adds crucial context to actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department in obtaining a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order to wiretap the former Trump aide, Carter Page, in October 2016.

But Republican committee members said on Monday they were comfortable with releasing the Democratic document now that it had been reviewed by House members.

While Trump allowed the interagency process to play out last week before greenlighting the GOP memo's release, there had been no question that Trump was eager for the memo to enter the public eye. He added, "And then within five days the president will make a decision about declassifying it".

Instead, the airwaves have been filled with claims and counter-claims.

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"We think this will help inform the public of the many distortions and inaccuracies in the majority memo", Representative Adam Schiff, the committee's top Democrat, told reporters after the House Intelligence Committee's business meeting.

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