Two days after President Donald Trump signed off on the release of a GOP intelligence memo about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, Democrats asked the President to approve the release of a memo written by their side, as they argue Republicans did not tell the whole story of what went on in the Trump-Russia probe.
“I believe it is a matter of fundamental fairness that the American people be allowed to see both sides of the argument and make their own judgments,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.
In a letter to the President on Sunday, Schumer said anything other than approval by Mr. Trump would show that the GOP memo was just an effort to “undermine Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s investigation.”
On the Sunday morning talk shows, Democrats ripped the memo pressed by Republicans, saying it was a purely political effort.
“The interest was not oversight, it was a political hit job on the FBI in the service of the President,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
“Even the misleading memo by Republicans demonstrates that the origin of this investigation involved Papadopoulos not Page, and involved collusion with the Russians,” Schiff said on Twitter, and ABC’s “This Week.”
Democrats also flatly rejected President Trump’s claim that the GOP memo “totally vindicates” him, as they bluntly charged that the Russia probe was an “American disgrace.”
But Republicans countered that Democrats were doing their own form of political posturing.
“I get that Adam Schiff and others are worried about what’s not in my memo,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), said on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” “I wish that they were equally concerned about what’s not in the FISA application.’
Gowdy and other GOP lawmakers contend that the FBI used the Steele Dossier – derived from opposition research paid for by the Democratic Party – to get a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a fringe player in the Trump Campaign, who was an unpaid foreign policy adviser.
Republicans argue that move undercuts the Russia investigation, because it meant the FBI engaged in misconduct before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in order to get a warrant on Page.
The Page warrant was not issued until October 21, 2016, and by then, Page was no longer affiliated with the Trump Campaign.
The GOP memo showed that the Page warrant was renewed at least three times, raising questions about what the FBI was looking at, since Page seemingly had little contact with Trump officials.
The House Intelligence Committee could vote as early as Monday evening to start the process for the public release of that Democratic memo. It would go through the same review – with approval needed by the President – as the GOP memo did last week.