Washington: Democratic lawmakers released a partially-redacted rebuttal on Sunday of a controversial Republican memo alleging bias and abuse of power in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The Democratic document — which President Donald Trump dubbed a "political and legal BUST" — is the latest salvo in a partisan fight over the Russia investigation, which was launched in 2016 and has come under repeated fire from Trump and other Republicans.
The Republican memo, which was released earlier this month over the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice's objections, said that unsubstantiated Democrat-funded research was used to obtain a warrant to surveil Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.
"FBI and DOJ officials did not 'abuse' the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process, omit material information, or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign," the Democrats' text said, referring to the process under which secret surveillance warrants are obtained.
"In fact, DOJ and the FBI would have been remiss in their duty to protect the country had they not sought a FISA warrant and repeated renewals to conduct temporary surveillance of Carter Page, someone the FBI assessed to be an agent of the Russian government.
"DOJ cited multiple sources to support the case for surveilling Page," and "the warrant request was based on compelling evidence and probable cause," said the document.
The White House initially blocked the release of the Democratic memo, citing its inclusion of sensitive information, and Trump took aim at the now-redacted text.
"The Democrat memo response on government surveillance abuses is a total political and legal BUST. Just confirms all of the terrible things that were done. SO ILLEGAL!" he wrote on Twitter.
White House spokesman Raj Shah termed it a "political-driven document" that is "loaded with uncorroborated allegations" and "fails to answer serious concerns raised" in the Republican memo.