President Donald Trump hit back at top House Intelligence Committee Democrat Adam Schiff in an interview Saturday night, dismissing a Democratic memo on FBI surveillance released earlier in the day as “a nothing.”
“He’ll leak all sorts of information. You know, he’s a bad guy,” Trump said Saturday in an interview on Fox News. “Certainly the memo was a nothing.”
The House Intelligence Committee released a Democratic memo in redacted form that Schiff wrote as a rebuttal to a Republican memo that accuses the FBI of suppressing Democratic ties to an opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia used in a FISA warrant for former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.
Trump said the Democratic memo “really verifies” the GOP memo.
“A lot of bad things happened on the other side — not on this side but on the other side — and somebody should look into it because what they did is really fraudulent,” Trump said of Democrats.
Among other things, the GOP memo accused the Justice Department of misleading the FISA court by failing to mention the political connections of the dossier’s author, ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The Schiff memo says the department gave all of the necessary political context to the FISA court, but followed longstanding practice and did not identify the Americans involved by name.
The Republican memo also accuses the Justice Department of using Steele’s dossier as the linchpin of its application to the FISA court, while the Democratic memo argues that the Justice Department gave the court a host of additional information to consider beyond the dossier.
In his interview Saturday night, Trump also accused President Barack Obama of doing “nothing about it” after being briefed about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election; special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating possible collusion between Trump associates and Russians in Moscow’s interference.
Later in the interview, Trump argued that there was no collusion between him and Russia.
“I had no phone calls. No meetings. No nothing. There’s no collusion,” Trump said.
He continued, referring to Hillary Clinton, “I don’t want to sound braggadocious. I was a far better candidate. She was not a good candidate. She went to the wrong states.”
The President also called House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, who was behind the Republican memo, “very, very brave.” “He’s been very, very brave in the face of a lot of obstacles. What he’s found out has been incredible. I give him tremendous credit.”
Schiff said earlier Saturday that the release of the Democratic memo “should put to rest any concerns that the American people might have as to the conduct of the FBI, the Justice Department and the FISC. Our extensive review of the initial FISA application and three subsequent renewals 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.”
Speaking Saturday afternoon at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Nunes said that he wanted the Democratic memo released “because we think it is clear evidence that the Democrats are not only trying to cover this up, but they’re also colluding with parts of the government to help cover this up.
“So what you basically will read in the Democratic memo is that they are advocating that it’s okay for the FBI and DOJ to use political dirt paid for by one campaign and use it against the other campaign,” Nunes said.