So the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have finally released their memo after trying to blame President Trump that it wasn’t released when it was. Of course, in fact it was loaded full of classified material … al be it intentionally.

On Saturday, Representative Devin Nunes, R-CA discussed, that his work as the head of the House Intelligence Committee, which has been investigating allegations of serious abuses of power by the Obama administration in surveilling the Trump presidential campaign back in 2016, revealed the Committee’s findings and analysis of the Democrats memo.

As you will note, the 10-page Democrat memo, intended to counter the Republican memo alleging FISA abuses by the FBI and the DOJ, which is now officially available to the public. Saturday’s release comes two weeks after President Trump decided against declassifying the Adam Schiff drafted memo, claiming there were concerns over sources and methods. The heavily redacted document claimed that the Steele Dossier did not lead to the FBI’s investigation. The Democrats classified memo claimed the Department of Justice gave multiple reasons in its FISA application to surveil former Trump Campaign associates and advisors.

Further, the memo also alleged that the Republican version of the document included misrepresentations by Chairman Nunes and said the newly released draft attempted to address those concerns.

Nunes noted nothing the Democrat memo actually rejects any points laid out in the GOP version. He also said the Republican members on the committee wanted the Democrats to release their memo, despite the Democrats using it to engage in political attacks. Nunes spent a significant amount of time taking the mainstream media to task for its slanted coverage of his and his Republican colleagues’ efforts to bring their findings about FBI and DOJ abuses to the public. Chairman Nunes argued, “What’s you’ve really seen is the collapse of the media.” He said, “Most Americans are of the understanding that no matter where you’re getting your news from, it’s going to be biased.” Nunes went on to talk about how clickbait journalism and “degradation” in the quality of reporting had seriously impacted the press’s reputation and credibility with the American people.

On Saturday, the Chairman spoke at length about exactly what he thought the media has not been covering fairly, putting particular emphasis on his committee’s findings that top FBI and DOJ officials used the Clinton and DNC-funded Steele Dossier to get FISA warrants to eavesdrop and collect unauthorized intelligence on the Trump campaign without informing the FISA judges about the document’s official source or its monetary support was derived from.

Despite such measures being taken by the Obama administration, Nunes told Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside Washington that the only “clear evidence” of collusion between Americans and Russians that his committee had seen showed Hillary Clinton working with former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele and his Russian sources to dig up “dirt” on Donald Trump and then use those Russians’ allegations to improperly obtain a FISA warrant. Nunes affirmed that it was Congress’s duty to see that such abuses be exposed to the public. He said, “The American people deserve to know the truth…even without the support of the media, saying, “we’ll get the facts,” reassuring his audience at CPAC.

Chairman Nunes also used his appearance at CPAC to comment on this week’s release of the Schiff memo purporting to “correct the record” about the Trump-Russia investigation. “We actually wanted this out,” Nunes said. “We want it out because we think it is clear evidence that the Democrats are not only trying to cover-up the FISA abuses, but they’re also colluding with parts of the government to help cover this up.” Nunes went on to say, “What you’re not going to see is anything that actually rejects what was in our memo.”

Further, in response to continuous attacks from both Rep. Schiff and the media painting him as a partisan hack only out to obscure “the truth” behind Trump-Russia collusion, Nunes shot back: “We have to make sure that people are held accountable so that everyone knows that it’s never going to be okay to take dirt from a foreign actor that was essentially made up out of whole cloth and then use it against the other candidate, no matter whose candidate that is.” Nunes’s remarks at the conference were well received by the audience and conference organizers alike. CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp personally thanked Nunes on stage for walking tall in Congress and being “a man of courage who stands for our freedom.”

The bottom line is that the memo supported the assertion that if any collusion took place with the Russians during the 2016 presidential election, it was with the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign. Of course, Nunes said he welcomed the release of the Democrat’s memo.

Remember, Nunes noted; “The reason we wanted it out is because it confirms exactly what we’ve said the whole time — that the FBI used dirt paid for by the Hillary campaign and the Democrat national party and didn’t disclose it to the court,” “In fact, they went out of their way not to disclose it to the court.”  “This is why we wanted it out, and it’s amazing that the Democrats would actually take part in trying to cover this up,” Nunes said. “It’s about a cover-up.”

Further, Nunes said, “Not only that, but they’re making excuses as if it was okay to use that information to get a warrant on an American citizen.” Congressman Nunes also said that Congress can do only so much once the facts are out, and that it is up to the executive branch to take enforcement actions. Nunes was asked in an interview with Breitbart News as to whether or not anything in what’s been made public points to collusion with the Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. The Chairman responded by saying, “We’ve only seen collusion between the Democratic Party, the Hillary campaign, and the Russians.” Indicating there was no collusion what so ever of anything to suggest between the Trump campaign.

He supported that by saying; “We have no evidence of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” Nunes nevertheless expressed determination to see this investigation through other than to determine the facts as they are. All indications are the Democrats are in big trouble … and its bad!

Nevertheless and as would be expected, the Democrats are still trying to make the claim that Carter Page is the linkage, the lynchpin so to speak. The Democratic rebuttal tries to justify the Justice DOJ’s October 2016 FISA warrant application to spy on Page with sensationalistic claims that he was on the FBI’s radar for years due to his alleged contacts with Russian spies. Essentially, this is all they got.

The rebuttal also makes claims about Page’s interactions with Russians in mid-2016, when he reportedly was offered “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. It claims a supposed Russian-linked source told Page that Russia had thousands of Clinton’s emails that it could leak to hurt her campaign. However, many of Page’s alleged 2016 interactions with Russians have not been corroborated. Some come from the Steele dossier which, despite claims in the rebuttal, is still uncorroborated. Parts of the Dossier have been shown to be untrue.

The Democratic rebuttal however, also omits that Page had a brief, low-level role in the Trump campaign and was disparaged by a Russian intelligence officer in 2015 as “an idiot.” Like Schiff’s frequent TV news interviews, the rebuttal misrepresents or omits many inconvenient facts. Two of these make the entire rebuttal impossible to take seriously.

First, the Republican memo said that Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified in a closed session in December 2017 that no warrant to spy on Carter Page would have been sought from the FISA Court without the Steele dossier information. This is one of the most crucial points in the Republican memo, but the Democrats ignored it. Instead, the Democratic rebuttal dances around McCabe’s statement by stating that other information drove the FBI investigation. The Democratic memo says the Justice Department “provided additional information obtained through multiple corroborated sources that corroborated Steele’s reporting” in the FISA warrant application. This is in fact the major omission. Either McCabe did, or he did not say the Steele Dossier was the crucial information that drove the FISA warrant request.

The Intelligence Committee’s Republicans should declassify the transcript of McCabe’s remarks to expose what is very likely a huge Democratic misrepresentation.

Second, the Democratic rebuttal engages in ‘verbal gymnastics’ to dispute Republican claims that the Justice Department failed to inform the FISA Court about the political sponsorship of the Steele Dossier. Further, the rebuttal tries to do this by citing a vague verbiage from the October 2016 FISA warrant request that said: “The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate number 1’s (that being Donald Trump’s) campaign.” Likewise, the “identified U.S. person” was Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, a company that was paid by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee and in turn contracted with Steele to produce the dossier critical of Trump. This was not revealed to the FISA Court.

This confusing information on the FBI “speculating” that an unidentified U.S. person was seeking information to discredit the Trump campaign was designed to conceal from the FISA Court that the Steele memo was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. Incredibly, the Democratic rebuttal has no references whatsoever to the Democratic National Committee or the Clinton campaign.

In fact, the footnote cited by the Democrats strengthens the Republican claim that the October FISA warrant request omitted crucial information on the veracity of the Steele dossier. It should be noted that the FISA judge obviously should have been told that a political party and a presidential campaign from one party funded a dossier to justify a FISA warrant to spy on a former member of a presidential campaign of the other political party. The Democrats’ claim that the DOJ “accurately” informed the court about this matter is laughable.

The highly misleading Democratic rebuttal is already having the intended effect by giving talking heads on the Sunday TV talk and news shows talking points to claim that the rebuttal disproved the Republican memo and provides evidence of collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia.

We can expect Adam Schiff to be on as many news programs as possible, as often as he can in coming days claiming his memo ‘corrects the record.’ But the reality is that the Democratic rebuttal is full of the same unsubstantiated partisan claims that Schiff and other House Intelligence Committee Democrats have been making for over a year. It fails to rebut any of the serious allegations made by the committee’s Republicans.

Here’s the bottom line — Don’t believe Adam Schiff when he spews this fake rebuttal. He didn’t lay a glove on the Republican memo regarding serious abuses of the FISA process by the DOJ, and the FBI to undermine the Trump presidential campaign.

Jim Waurishuk is a retired USAF Colonel, serving nearly 30-years as a career senior intelligence and political-military affairs officer and special mission intelligence officer with expertise in strategic intelligence, international strategic studies and policy, and asymmetric warfare. He served combat and combat-support tours in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as on numerous special operations and special mission intelligence contingencies in Central America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. He served as a special mission intelligence officer assigned to multiple Joint Special Operations units, and with the CIA’s Asymmetric Warfare Task Force, as well as in international and foreign advisory positions. He served as Deputy Director for Intelligence for U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) during the peak years of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Global War on Terrorism. He is a former White House National Security Council staffer and a former Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C. He served as a senior advisor to the Commander U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and is Vice President of the Special Ops-OPSEC -- which provides strategic and operational security analysis and assessments to governmental and private entities, as well as media organizations on national security issues, policy, and processes. He currently provides advisory and consulting services on national security, international strategic policy, and strategy assessments for the U.S. and foreign private sector and governments entities, media groups and outlets, and to political groups, forums, and political candidates. He is an author and writer providing regular commentary and opinion to national and local TV, radio networks, and for both print and online publications, as well as speaking engagements to business, political, civic and private groups on national security matters – focusing on international strategic policy and engagement, and strategic intelligence, and subject matter expertise on special mission intelligence and operations, counter-terrorism, and asymmetric warfare and conflict.