Schiff: 'We're very close to reaching an agreement' with FBI on countermemo

Schiff: 'We're very close to reaching an agreement' with FBI on countermemo
© Greg Nash

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Friday he is very close to striking a deal with the FBI over releasing his classified countermemo that offers a point-by-point rebuttal of the GOP surveillance memo released earlier this month.

"I think we’re very close to reaching an agreement on it,” Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Defense: Trump steps up fight with California over guard deployment | Heitkamp is first Dem to back Pompeo for State | Dems question legality of Syria strikes Top Dems demand answers from Trump over legality of Syria strikes New York seeks authority to prosecute despite presidential pardons MORE (D-Calif.) said during a Center on Foreign Relations event.

Schiff is in the process of making changes to the countermemo, in cooperation with the FBI. He said that while he is willing to make redactions that protect sources and methods, he does not want to make any changes to information that the Trump administration may be trying to block.


“What I am trying to gain visibility into is what are the concerns of the FBI and [Justice Department], because we want to redact that. And what are political redactions that the White House might be insisting on?” he said.

Schiff’s memo directly refutes the GOP memo drafted by the staff of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesTrump claims vindication after release of Comey memos Memos document Comey's interactions with Trump House GOP committee chairmen rip Comey over memos MORE (R-Calif.), which was released a few weeks ago after President TrumpDonald John TrumpIG investigating Comey memos over classified information: report Overnight Defense: Congress poised for busy week on nominations, defense bill | Trump to deliver Naval Academy commencement speech | Trump administration appeals decision to block suspected combatant's transfer Top Pruitt aid requested backdate to resignation letter: report MORE signed off, overriding FBI concerns.

The Nunes memo outlines allegations that the FBI and Justice Department officials misled a clandestine court to grant a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, an adviser to President Trump's campaign. The memo makes the claim that federal officials failed to disclose that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPaltry wage gains, rising deficits two key tax reform concerns Trump pressed Sessions to fire FBI agents who sent anti-Trump texts: report DNC sues Russia, Trump campaign and WikiLeaks over alleged election interference MORE’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid in part for a dossier that was used as evidence to obtain their spy application.

Trump tweeted that the GOP memo “vindicates” him in the ongoing Russia probe that is examining whether Trump campaign aides colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.

Schiff has repeatedly blasted the Nunes memo for not only causing “lasting damage” with the intelligence community, but also for cherry-picking facts in an effort to protect the White House from the federal investigation.

Last week, the White House signaled it is open to releasing Schiff's countermemo if certain information is redacted.

“The administration stands ready to work with Congress to accommodate oversight requests consistent with applicable standards, including the need to protect intelligence sources and methods,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last Friday in reference to Schiff's memo.

Schiff has repeatedly emphasized that the FBI has not dismissed their memo as inaccurate, while the bureau publicly voiced "grave concerns" over the accuracy of the Nunes memo.