White House officials are prepared to help Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee release a memo they wrote to dispute one published Friday by Republicans on the committee, press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
"Earlier today, President Donald J. Trump declassified a memorandum from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The memorandum raises serious concerns about the integrity of decisions made at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI to use the government’s most intrusive surveillance tools against American citizens," the White House statement said.
"This decision was made with input from the President’s national security team — including law enforcement officials and members of the intelligence community, for whom the president has great respect," the statement added. "He is especially grateful to the hardworking rank-and-file public servants who work every day to keep America safe and uphold our laws while protecting the constitutional rights of all Americans."
The controversial memo, authored by staff for Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., alleged impropriety in the way Justice Department officials obtained a warrant to conduct surveillance on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, in Oct. 2016. The GOP memo accused FBI and Justice Department officials of relying on a dossier of opposition research that was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee as the "essential part" of their application for a warrant to spy on Page.
Senior Justice Department officials knew of the dossier's origins in the Clinton campaign, but did not disclose that information to the judge who ultimately approved the request for a warrant based on the content of the opposition research. Parts of the dossier reportedly remain unverified.
Democrats led by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., wrote a separate memo last month that disputes the claims Nunes made in the memo published by the House Intelligence Committee on Friday.
Because both memos drew conclusions from highly classified material, both memos required declassification to be released to the public. Trump declassified the GOP memo on Friday and said the officials implicated in the document should be "ashamed."
"Minority members of the committee have reportedly drafted a separate memorandum," the White House acknowledged in its statement on Friday. "The administration stands ready to work with Congress to accommodate oversight requests consistent with applicable standards, including the need to protect intelligence sources and methods."
Some congressional Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., have supported calls to release the competing Schiff memo.