- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 4, 2018

A Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee on Sunday said the release of a GOP memo detailing how the FBI used Democrat-funded information to snoop on one of President Trump’s campaign aides is about government oversight — not “vindication” for a White House besieged by probes into possible ties with Russia.

“I think this is a separate issue,” Rep. Brad Wenstrup, Ohio Republican, told CNN’s State of the Union.

House Republicans released a memo Friday that details the FBI’s decision to rely in part on material compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele — an investigator paid by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign — to apply in October 2016 for a secret surveillance warrant against Carter Page, a former adviser to the Trump campaign.

Republicans say the Clinton connection shows extreme bias and was concealed from the court.

On Twitter, the president said the memo “totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe.”

Yet Mr. Wenstrup and top-ranking Republicans, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, say the memo shouldn’t be used to meddle with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia probe conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

They said it’s their role to expose potential biases or errors within government processes, not shield Mr. Trump.

“I think it’s more looking within the agency, something we have oversight over. They don’t have oversight over us. We have oversight over them,” Mr. Wenstrup said.

In Sunday interviews, Republicans said the FBI officials who sought the spying warrant disclosed the political nature of Mr. Steele’s intelligence but didn’t disclose the Democrats’ role in backing it.

“There is a difference between saying it’s politically motivated and actually revealing who paid for it. I think that is a huge difference,” Mr. Wenstrup said.

The Republican congressman said he would support the release of a Democratic rebuttal memo, so long as it is “vetted” first.

He said the GOP memo authored by Rep. Devin Nunes of California had been further along in the review process before the Intelligence Committee voted to release it, while rejecting the Democrat one.

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