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 HimesMcCarthy pulls GOP picks off House economic panel Pelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality House panel spars over GameStop frenzy, trading apps 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 TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' 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 WenstrupHouse approves select panel to probe Jan. 6 attack Overnight Defense: Biden, Putin agree to launch arms control talks at summit | 2002 war authorization repeal will get Senate vote | GOP rep warns Biden 'blood with be on his hands' without Afghan interpreter evacuation GOP rep: If Biden doesn't evacuate Afghan interpreters, 'blood will be on his hands' 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.