US House ‘Intelligence’ memo feud

The US ‘House Intelligence Committee’ is looking increasingly like an oxymoron as the memo feud continues.

On 2 February the White House declassifed and released the ‘Nunes meme’ on the Russian investigation, which was a controversial pro-Republican view.

After some opposition from the White House the House voted in favour of releasing a dissenting Democrat memo, which has just been made public (with security redactions). Immediately following that Republicans a point by point ‘refutation’.

About the only thing being enhanced in all of this is the mayhem and mess.

Full text of the ‘Shiff’ memo: Democrats’ response to the Nunes memo was just released

Vox: The Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo tears it apart

Washington Examiner: Devin Nunes shares ‘point by point’ refutation of Democratic memo

And of course President Trump has again claimed everything vindicates him and he has done nothing wrong. CNN: Trump calls Schiff a ‘bad guy,’ Democratic memo ‘a nothing’

President Donald Trump hit back at top House Intelligence Committee Democrat Adam Schiff in an interview Saturday night, dismissing a Democratic memo on FBI surveillance released earlier in the day as “a nothing.”

“He’ll leak all sorts of information. You know, he’s a bad guy,” Trump said Saturday in an interview on Fox News. “Certainly the memo was a nothing.”

Trump said the Democratic memo “really verifies” the GOP memo.

“A lot of bad things happened on the other side — not on this side but on the other side — and somebody should look into it because what they did is really fraudulent,” Trump said of Democrats.

Later in the interview, Trump argued that there was no collusion between him and Russia.

“I had no phone calls. No meetings. No nothing. There’s no collusion,” Trump said.

That doesn’t rule out possible actions by people working for Trump on his campaign team.

He continued, referring to Hillary Clinton, “I don’t want to sound braggadocious. I was a far better candidate. She was not a good candidate. She went to the wrong states.”

Trump continues to claim his election success was solely due to his modest brilliance as a candidate.

Some details in a convoluted shit fight here: Democratic rebuttal to GOP House Intelligence memo released

Democrats say their memo, spearheaded by ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was written as a rebuttal to provide greater context to a Republican memo that was released earlier this month, which outlines abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department against the Trump campaign, particularly in the write-up and approval of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant applications to spy on ex-Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

The Democratic memo says in its first page that “FBI and DOJ officials did not ‘abuse’ the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process, omit material information, or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign.”

It adds, “In fact, DOJ and the FBI would have been remiss in their duty to protect the country had they not sought a FISA warrant and repeated renewals to conduct temporary surveillance of Carter Page, someone the FBI assessed to be an agent of the Russian government.

A key point in the GOP memo, put together by Nunes and staff, claims Justice Department and FBI officials used “Trump dossier” author Christopher Steele was played an important role in the initial and all three renewal FISA applications to spy on Page. The dossier from Steele, an ex-British spy, is filled with salacious and unverified claims about President Trump’s ties to Russia. A crucial source of funding for the dossier, Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, as well as Steele’s anti-Trump bias were also left out by the DOJ and FBI, the GOP memo alleged, addressing a major area of concern of Republicans and Trump supporters.

The Democratic memo makes the case the that agencies covered themselves appropriately.

“DOJ provided additional information obtained through multiple independent sources that corroborated Steele’s reporting,” the document says on page four about the FISA renewals.

The Russians don’t need to try to interfere in US democracy, the Americans are making enough of a mess of their own affairs without outside help.

US ‘intelligence’ is taking a hammering.


USA: House intelligence memo released

The US House Intelligence Committee has released a memo that alleges abuses of secret surveillance by the FBI and Justice Department in the Trump-Russia investigation. One might wonder whether this is in the interests of public trust, or of partisan posturing, and one might wonder whether ‘US intelligence’ or ‘House intelligence’ are oxymorons.

The memo is marked as ‘Top Secret’ but President Trump ordered that it be declassified.

House Intelligence panel chairman Devin Nunes says in statement that the memo ‘shows serious violations of the public trust,’ and hopes document will trigger reforms.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has responded to the memo release:

President Trump has surrendered his constitutional responsibility as Commander-in-Chief by releasing highly classified and distorted intelligence.

As the Department of Justice warned, the public release of the memo would be an “unprecedented action” and “extraordinarily reckless”.

The FBI also expressed “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy”.

Washington Examiner: House Intelligence memo released: What it says

Here are some key points:

  • The Steele dossier formed an essential part of the initial and all three renewal FISA applications against Carter Page.
  • Andrew McCabe confirmed that no FISA warrant would have been sought from the FISA Court without the Steele dossier information.
  • The four FISA surveillance applications were signed by, in various combinations, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates, Dana Boente, and Rod Rosenstein.
  • The FBI authorized payments to Steele for work on the dossier. The FBI terminated its agreement with Steele in late October when it learned, by reading an article in Mother Jones, that Steele was talking to the media.
  • The political origins of the Steele dossier were known to senior DOJ and FBI officials, but excluded from the FISA applications.
  • DOJ official Bruce Ohr met with Steele beginning in the summer of 2016 and relayed to DOJ information about Steele’s bias. Steele told Ohr that he, Steele, was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected president and was passionate about him not becoming president.

The full memo (PDF).

The Nunes statement:

House Intelligence panel Democrats say they hope to release their own memo on Monday,

Democrat responses: