House Intelligence Dem: Use of Steele dossier in FISA application 'small and insignificant'

House Intelligence Dem: Use of Steele dossier in FISA application 'small and insignificant'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jim HimesJames (Jim) Andres HimesDem lawmaker: People will 'rot in hell' for attacking Mueller and Comey Dem rep: To call Mueller probe a witch hunt is ‘to be completely unhinged’ Overnight Cybersecurity: House Intel votes to release Russia report | House lawmakers demand Zuckerberg testify | Senators unveil updated election cyber bill MORE (D-Conn.) on Sunday disputed Republican claims based on a recently declassified memo that the Department of Justice depended on the so-called Steele dossier to obtain a surveillance warrant on a Trump campaign aide.

“Just because it was opposition research doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. In fact, we wouldn’t pay a penny for opposition research if it is biased. I think when the facts are out here, this will turn out to be a very, very small and insignificant thing,” Himes, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

The four-page memo, released Friday by the House Intelligence Committee, accuses senior Justice Department officials of improperly using information from the Steele dossier — which originated as an opposition research document during the 2016 campaign and was partly funded by the Democratic National Committee — to obtain surveillance warrants on Carter Page, a member of the Trump transition team and former Trump campaign adviser. 

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Some Republicans and President TrumpDonald John TrumpRand's reversal advances Pompeo New allegations could threaten Trump VA pick: reports President Trump puts on the pageantry for Macron’s visit MORE have pointed to the memo as proof the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election is biased against the president.

Democrats have blasted the document as a collection of misleading claims that seek to undermine the FBI, and called for the House Intelligence Committee to release a countermemo from the minority party.

Himes on Sunday pushed back against the Republican claim that the probe into Russian interference is tainted because the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant was supported in part by the dossier.

“What we are going to learn if and when the Democratic memo is released, what we will learn is that it is not true that this FISA warrant was awarded solely on the basis of the Steele dossier. We will also learn that the FBI, because they’re very careful people, didn’t mislead the judge,” Himes said. 

Rep. Brad WenstrupBrad Robert WenstrupThe Memo: Trump doubles down amid some GOP doubts Lawmakers dispute ‘vindication’ for Trump in Intel memo House Intelligence Dem: Use of Steele dossier in FISA application 'small and insignificant' MORE (R-Ohio), who also serves on the House Intelligence Committee, said on the same show that he didn’t want to release the Democratic countermemo alongside the Republican memo because it had not been vetted, which Himes disputed.

“If there was a vetting process on the Nunes memo, that’s news to me. And if the vetting process did occur, we know what FBI and [the Justice Department] said,” Himes said, referencing concerns expressed by both agencies about the Republican document.