- Jessica Wehrman Washington Bureau
Dayton-area Congressman Mike Turner said the Democratic memo released last weekend aimed at rebutting GOP claims that the FBI abused their power in order to help Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 “does not disprove” any of those claims.
Turner, a member of the House Intelligence Committee from Dayton, said the memo did not disprove that the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign paid for intelligence about a Trump aide’s ties to Russia. That intelligence was used as evidence to monitor Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.
“Politically funded documents from either side should not be used as evidence in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts,” Turner said.
The release of the memo Saturday was the latest in a long battle over whether Trump’s campaign’s ties to Russia. The Democratic memo sought to defend the FBI and Justice and its decision to obtain a FISA warrant on Page. Republicans, in an earlier memo, have accused the agencies of unfairly targeting Trump and using information paid for by Democrats to investigate Page. But House Intelligence ranking Democrat Adam Schiff of California said Democrats’ review of the FISA application on Page “”failed to uncover any evidence of illegal, unethical, or unprofessional behavior by law enforcement and instead revealed that both the FBI and DOJ made extensive showings to justify all four requests.”
The White House, meanwhile, reaffirmed what it has consistently said - that neither Trump nor his campaign colluded with Russia.
“While the Democrats’ memorandum attempts to undercut the President politically, the President supported its release in the interest of transparency,” the statement read. “Nevertheless, this politically driven document fails to answer serious concerns raised by the Majority’s memorandum about the use of partisan opposition research from one candidate, loaded with uncorroborated allegations, as a basis to ask a court to approve surveillance of a former associate of another candidate, at the height of a presidential campaign.”
While Turner agreed with the White House, other Ohio Republicans simply said they supported the release of the Democratic memo.
“Rob has supported the release of both memos, as long as they does not compromise future intelligence gathering, and he’s pleased both are now publicly available,” said Emily Benavides, a spokeswoman for Sen. Rob Portman, R–Ohio.
Columbus-area Rep. Steve Stivers, R–Upper Arlington, said he also supported the release of both memos as long as sensitive information was redacted. He said he supports the House and Senate Intelligence Committee investigations as well as one headed by special counsel Robert Mueller “and hope they continue to follow the facts wherever they lead.”
Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, meanwhile, said GOP attempts to discredit the FBI and Justice were “shameful.”
“Hopefully the release of this second memo will help set the record straight,” Brown said. “The President and his team should cooperate with the FBI and make all their dealings with Russia public, so the American people can get the answers they deserve and the country can move forward with the business of creating jobs, rebuilding our infrastructure and renegotiating NAFTA.