House Intelligence Committee Votes to Release Rebuttal Memo

The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously on Monday evening to release the Democrats’ rebuttal memo to the now infamous Russia memo authored by the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, ABC News reports.

After President Trump approved the releasing of the Russia memo and the House Intelligence Committee made it public, Democrats had been pushing for their rebuttal memo to also be made public in an act of transparency.

“The vote was unanimous to release this,” Rep. Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the committee and author of the rebuttal memo, said. “I think the Republican members understood that after calling for full transparency, they were getting hammered over the course of the week for trying to hide the minority response.”

Just last week, GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee blocked the release of the rebuttal memo, but agreed to let the House review the memo in a classified setting, CNN reports.

“Every story has two sides. And I think it's only fair that Democrats get to tell their side,” Rep. Mike Conaway, the senior Republican leading the Russia probe on the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC News.

According to CNN, the memo authored by Schiff is a direct rebuttal to the allegations in Nunes’ Russia memo. The Russia memo, which was released on Friday, accuses the FBI of abusing the FISA application process by not disclosing certain information pertaining to the Steele dossier when trying to obtain a warrant for surveillance on Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page. The Russia memo alleged that ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who authored the Steele dossier, was working for opposition research firm Fusion GPS which was funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Schiff and other Democrats have charged that the Russia memo is “inaccurate and misleading,” and have said that the 10-page rebuttal memo counters each point made in Nunes’ memo.

According to ABC News, Schiff told reporters after the vote that Trump will have five days to review the memo and approve its release or deny it based on national security reasons. Before the memo is sent to the White House on Monday night, the FBI and Justice Department will have an opportunity to vet the memo.

Schiff did say that he was concerned that Trump would make “political redactions” before releasing the memo, and that’s why he asked the FBI and Justice Department to also play a part in the memo’s vetting process, CNN reports.

On Monday morning, however, Trump took to Twitter to criticize Schiff, calling him “one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington.”  

“Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper! Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information,” Trump wrote, referring to former FBI Director James Comey, Sen. Mark Warner, former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. “Must be stopped!”

Schiff replied to Trump on Twitter, asking him to turn “off the TV” and help “solve the funding crisis.”

Trump, however, did praise Nunes for releasing the Russia memo. “Representative Devin Nunes, a man of tremendous courage and grit, may someday be recognized as a Great American Hero for what he has exposed and what he has had to endure!” Trump wrote.