The White House has released a redacted version of a Democratic congressional memo in response to a Republican account of alleged FBI surveillance abuses.
The memo was released Saturday, three weeks after the committee's Republican members voted to release a version of events compiled by staffers of Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.
The release follows negotiations between the FBI and the Intelligence Committees's top Democrat, Adam Schiff of California, over what sensitive information should not be released.
During an interview Saturday with the Fox News program Justice with Judge Jeanine, President Donald Trump said the Democrats' memo was "a nothing."
"Well, all you do is you see this Adam Schiff — he has a meeting, and he leaves the meeting and he calls up reporters. And then all of a sudden they have news and you're not supposed to do that. It's probably illegal to do it,” Trump told the host Jeanine Pirro.
Schiff wrote the memo in response to the so-called Nunes memo, which alleges the FBI suppressed information about Democratic ties to an opposition research dossier used to obtain a federal warrant for surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.
Schiff and other Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee allege the Republican version of the story omits and misrepresents facts. They also accuse Trump of ignoring concerns about releasing sensitive information when releasing the Republican version of the memo, and holding the Democratic one for political reasons rather than security concerns.
FBI Director Christopher Wray had also expressed concerns about the Republican memo, saying it left out key information.
Trump tweeted Saturday, shortly after the memo's release, "The Democrat memo response on government surveillance abuses is a total political and legal BUST. Just confirms all of the terrible things that were done. SO ILLEGAL!"
Nunes also released a statement, saying, "The American people now clearly understand that the FBI used political dirt paid for by the Democratic Party to spy on an American citizen from the Republican Party. Furthermore, the FISA court was misled about Mr. Page's past interactions with the FBI in which he helped build a case against Russian operatives in America who were brought to justice. It defies belief that the Department of Justice and FBI failed to provide information to a secret court that they had provided to an open federal court regarding their past interactions with Mr. Page."
Nunes also addressed the issue in an appearance Saturday at the conservative political conference CPAC in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.
“We wanted it out," he said, referring to the Democratic memo, "We want it out because 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. ... What you basically read in the Democratic memo is, they are advocating that it’s OK for the FBI and DOJ [Department of Justice] to use political dirt paid for by one campaign, and use it against the other campaign.”
The Democratic memo says the dossier at issue was not the only reason for the FBI's investigation of ties to Russia from the Trump presidential campaign, and was far from being the only source of evidence for three renewals of the FBI warrant for surveillance of Page, the Trump adviser.
It also said the FBI did not rely on the opposition research done by the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton and did not pay the researcher, former British spy Christopher Steele, for any reporting.