Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Saturday that the release of documents related to the surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser show that Republicans “misrepresented and distorted these applications” in their claims of bias at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“These documents affirm that our nation faced a profound counterintelligence threat prior to the 2016 election, and the Department of Justice and FBI took appropriate steps to investigate whether any U.S. persons were acting as an agent of a foreign power,” Schiff said in a statement. “FBI and DOJ would have been negligent had they not used all the tools at their disposal, including Court-authorized [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] FISA surveillance, to protect the country.”
The Department of Justice on Saturday released more than 400 pages of heavily redacted documents on the surveillance of former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.
The application documents state that FBI “believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government … to undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law.”
Page told The Hill that he’s “having trouble finding any small bit of this document that rises above complete ignorance and/or insanity.”
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee argued in a memo released in February that the DOJ and FBI were biased against Trump and his campaign, and abused their authority in obtaining the surveillance warrant against Page. Committee Chairman Devin Nunes‘s (R-Calif.) staff authored the document.
Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, and other Democrats released their own memo shortly afterward, pushing back against the GOP claims of bias.
Schiff said Saturday that while the documents show the FBI’s “legitimate concern” about Page, he said the materials should not have been released during a pending investigation.
“These national security considerations were cast aside by President Trump, whose decision to declassify the Nunes Memo — which misrepresented and distorted these applications — over the fervent opposition of the Department of Justice, was nakedly political and self-interested, and designed to to interfere with the Special Counsel’s investigation,” the lawmaker said.
BY JACQUELINE THOMSEN – 07/21/18