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Democratic Rebuttal to GOP Memo: What You Need To Know

Maria Perez

House Intelligence Democrats released a heavily redacted memo countering the GOP document on Saturday that claims top FBI and Justice Department officials allegedly abused their powers in surveillance by spying on a former aide to President Donald Trump. 

Earlier this month, Trump stopped the release of the Democrats' memo after the committee unanimously voted to release it. Some lawmakers from both parties believed the rebuttal should be viewed since the GOP memo was released a few weeks ago. 

Representative David Nunes and his staff, who wrote the GOP memo, accused officials of the FBI and Justice Department of unfairly spying on the Trump campaign. Trump said the GOP memo "totally vindicates" him in the investigation into if the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to help win the election.

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, answers brief questions from the media while boarding an elevator at the U.S. Capitol February 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is scheduled to meet later today to vote on the release of the minority rebuttal of a memo released last week by their Republican counterparts relating the committees investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The Democrats released a rebuttal memo on Saturday. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

The rebuttal memo claims to "correct the record" on what Democrats call a "transparent effort to undermine" the FBI, Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Russia investigations.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the 10-page memo:

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Christopher's Steele's reporting did not assist in the FBI's decision to initiate an investigation in July 2016: The memo states that Steele's reporting on the dossier did not play a role in starting the Russian interference into the 2016 election. The memo states that Steele's reporting "did not reach the counterintelligence team investigating Russia at FBI headquarters until mid-September 2016," which was seven weeks after the FBI opened its investigation.

FISA was not used to spy on the Trump campaign: The Trump campaign and Carter Page ended their relationship "months before DOJ applied for a warrant." The warrant was submitted "less than three weeks" before the election.

The FBI was investigating Page before and after the campaign: Despite that most of the information about Page was heavily redacted from the memo, the memo states that the FBI was investigating Page "during the campaign, transition, and following the inauguration." He had been on the FBI's radar since 2013 and interviewed him several times about his Russian contacts. The FBI also found some "suspicious activity" during the campaign when he traveled to Moscow to give a university commencement address, which is usually given by well-known prominent figures.

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The Department of Justice never paid Steele for the dossier: It was previously stated in the GOP memo that the DOJ paid Steele for his information on the dossier, but the released memo states that "Steele ultimately never received payment from the FBI for dossier related information."

The DOJ provided substantial evidence about George Papadopolous and Russia's connected efforts:  The memo states that Papadopolous interactions with Russian agents "coupled with real-time evidence of Russian election interference" and "provided the Court with a broader context in which to evaluate Russia's clandestine activities and Page's history and alleged contact with Russian officials."

Bruce Ohr was not a Steele contact with the DOJ: According to the memo, Ohr told FBI officials about his relationship with Steele in November 2016. His wife's contract at Fusion GPS did not interfere with the hiring of Steele because the firm hired him separately. This occurred weeks after the election and months after the Court approved the original FISA application.

Peter Strzok's and Lisa Page's text messages do not interfere with the FISA application: Text messages between the two are not politically biased, according to the memo. The memo states that the texts between the two affiants are completely "irrelevant to the application."

This article was first written by Newsweek

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