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House Dem: Countermemo proves FISA application didn't depend on dossier

House Dem: Countermemo proves FISA application didn't depend on dossier
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jim HimesJames (Jim) Andres HimesPelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality House panel spars over GameStop frenzy, trading apps COVID-19 could complicate Pelosi's path to Speaker next year MORE (D-Conn.) on Sunday argued a Democratic memo released a day earlier proves the so-called Steele dossier was just a “small part" of an application to monitor a former Trump campaign associate in 2016. 

“Carter Page was of interest for his connections to the Russians for years before October 2016. He had all sorts of contact,” Himes said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released their redacted memo on Saturday, which rebuts many claims made in a GOP memo released earlier this month.

The GOP memo accused FBI and Justice Department (DOJ) officials of abusing a surveillance program to improperly spy on the Trump campaign. The memo said an unverified dossier compiled by Christopher Steele and funded in part by Democrats was used to gain permission through a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to spy on Page, a Trump campaign adviser. 

Democrats, basing their memo on the same classified material the GOP memo used, say their newly released information provides important context.

Himes, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, on Sunday disputed a specific point in the GOP memo that claims former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeThe FBI should turn off the FARA faucet John Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges Carter Page sues over surveillance related to Russia probe MORE testified to the committee that the FBI wouldn't have sought the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application against Page without the Steele dossier.

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“Andrew McCabe did not say the FISA warrant would not have been sought," said Himes, who was also present for the closed-door testimony in question. He claimed that McCabe said the dossier was "important" for the application. 

Reaction to the Democrats' memo fell along partisan lines. Democrats praised the new document for debunking claims laid out in the GOP memo.

Republicans and the White House said the new document does not refute anything in the GOP memo, and President Trump ripped the Democratic release as a "political and legal bust."

Himes on Sunday rejected Republican claims that the Department of Justice was biased toward the Trump campaign, noting former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBiden sister has book deal, set to publish in April Mystery surrounds Justice's pledge on journalist records NYT publisher: DOJ phone records seizure a 'dangerous incursion' on press freedom MORE made multiple public statements about the bureau's investigation into Democratic candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCommunion vote puts spotlight on Hispanic Catholics Trump's biggest political obstacle is Trump The Memo: Some Democrats worry rising crime will cost them MORE — at least some of which Clinton says hurt her chances in the election. The memo also notes that the judges that granted the FISA application were Republican appointees.

“If there was any bias within FBI and DOJ they had a very weird way of showing it during the campaign itself,” Himes said.