Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., called it a “very sad day” when the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines Monday to release the controversial Republican staff memo alleging what some GOP lawmakers are calling abuses “worse than Watergate” of government surveillance programs during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Schiff, the top Democrat on the intel committee, has called the classified four-page report “misleading and inaccurate.”
However, two senior FBI officials have now reviewed the document and “could not point to any factual inaccuracies,” reports the Fox News Channel’s Catherine Herridge, citing a source close to the matter.
One of the officials was from the FBI’s counter-intelligence division and the other from the legal division. They examined the document after an initial review by FBI Director Christopher Wray.
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After the vote Monday, the memo was sent to the White House for President Trump’s review. He now has five working days to decide whether or not to block its release.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said Tuesday his Democratic colleagues “didn’t want us to find the information.”
“They did everything they could to keep us from finding this information,” he said in an interview with “Fox & Friends.”
Schiff said prior to the vote that releasing the memo would “grant House Members access to a profoundly misleading set of talking points drafted by Republican staff attacking the FBI and its handling of the investigation.”
Fox News said the memo was “drafted deliberately to eliminate national security information” that could be damaging if viewed by individuals outside Congress.
Spearheaded by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the memo is said to include text messages from FBI agent Peter Strzok – the agent who led the probe of Hillary Clinton’s server and was fired from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe for anti-Trump bias – that indicate the so-called “Steele dossier” was used to obtain FISA warrants to spy on Trump campaign officials.
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As WND has reported, former British spy Christopher Steele compiled the anti-Trump dossier, which he said was given to the FBI last summer. Steele had been hired by the Washington-based intelligence firm Fusion GPS, which funded his research with cash from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
Gowdy said he believes Trump will allow the Nunes memo to be released.
Anyone interested in whether or not the anti-Trump dossier was used in court proceedings and whether or not the Democrats funded it will be interested in seeing the memo, he said.
Republican members who have viewed it have called the alleged abuses by the FBI and the Democrats in the 2016 election worse than Watergate.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., tweeted Jan. 19: “What I saw is absolutely shocking. This report needs to be released – now. Americans deserve the truth.”
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, wrote: “The sickening reality has set in. I no longer hold out hope there is an innocent explanation for the information the public has seen. I have long said it is worse than Watergate.”
Sacrificing the truth
In the interview Tuesday with Fox News, Gowdy said Schiff is using the legal system to try to cover up links between the dossier and the Democratic National Committee.
“Going to court to help Fusion GPS so we can’t find out that they paid for the dossier and that they were working for the DNC. That’s a pretty big step to go to court to try to keep the American people from learning something,” Gowdy said.
“If it were up to Adam Schiff, you wouldn’t know about Hillary Clinton’s email, you wouldn’t know about the server, you wouldn’t know who paid for the dossier,” Gowdy said.
He said Congress is sacrificing the truth for partisanship.
“My old job, it was about the pursuit of the truth. This job is about winning. And I think that’s what frustrates people, and that’s how you get a 7 percent public approval rating,” he said.
Gowdy said he voted to let a companion Democratic memo on the issue “see the light.”
“I trust people to make up their own mind and draw fair conclusions, but politics has denigrated to the point that it’s about winning and it’s about embarrassing the other side and, again, that’s how you get 7 percent public approval rating,” he said.
Gowdy said morale is low at the FBI because the public is associating the bureau with Strzok and the FBI paramour with whom he exchanged anti-Trump emails, Lisa Page.
The question, the congressman said, in light of the fact that the vast majority of FBI agents are honorable people, is the pervasiveness of that bias.
“That is not the FBI that I worked with,” he said.