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 HimesRising star Ratcliffe faces battle to become Trump's intel chief Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Live coverage: Mueller testifies before Congress 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 TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? 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 WenstrupOvernight Defense: General accused of sexual assault to get confirmation hearing | Senate to vote Monday on overriding Saudi arms deal veto | Next Joint Chiefs chair confirmed | Graham tries to ease Turkey tensions Live coverage: Mueller testifies before Congress Election security to take back seat at Mueller hearing 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.