GOP lawmaker calls for Dem countermemo to be made public

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) on Monday called for the release of a Democrat-crafted memo that counters a recently released GOP memo alleging surveillance abuses at the Justice Department.

In a series of tweets, Banks said he just read the memo, which was written by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

"I hope that this minority report will be made public this week. With so much at stake, both the Nunes and Schiff memos should be available to all Americans," he tweeted, referring to the panel's top-ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.).

"The [memo] released last week is neither as damaging or vindicating as some Republicans have claimed, but it is also not as irrelevant as many Democrats want it to be," he continued.

"Moving forward we need to focus on the facts, ensure the rights of American citizens are protected, and hold accountable those who abuse the FISA process."

A report Sunday said the House Intelligence Committee will consider Monday whether to declassify the Democratic memo.

If the committee approves releasing the countermemo, it will be sent to President Trump, who will then have to approve or object to its release.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that Trump should agree to release the countermemo, calling it a matter of "fundamental fairness."

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other Republicans have also signaled they would be open to making the Democratic rebuttal public.

The White House said Monday it remains open to releasing the Democratic countermemo.

The four-page Republican memo, released Friday, accuses senior Justice Department officials of improperly using information from the so-called Steele dossier - which originated as an opposition research document during the 2016 campaign - to obtain surveillance warrants on Carter Page, a member of the Trump transition team and former Trump campaign adviser. 

President Trump this past weekend tweeted that the memo "totally vindicates" him in the Russia investigation.

Democrats have called the memo misleading and claimed it includes cherry-picked claims to undermine the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow.