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House panel backs release of Democrats' memo on FBI

The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously Monday in favor of publicly releasing a classified memo that Democrats say undermines allegations by President Donald Trump and his allies that the FBI abused its spying powers while investigating his campaign.

Trump has five days to review the request to release the memo, which was written by Democrats.

Democrats have clamored to release their memo ever since Republicans decided last week to make public their own classified document over the objections of the FBI.

Republicans’ memo claimed the FBI relied on a disputed dossier compiled by a former British spy to convince a court in October 2016 to grant a surveillance warrant for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. They said FBI agents improperly failed to disclose that the spy, Christopher Steele, had gotten funding from Democrats for the research.

But Democrats have said — and some Republicans have acknowledged — that the FBI did mention a potential political bias in its application.

Democrats say Trump’s allies are trying to discredit the FBI to harm special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and whether any of the president’s associates were involved.

The Democratic memo is expected to remain secret while Trump reviews it, but its lead author, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), has said it will provide a point-by-point rebuttal to the Republican version. Trump could attempt to block it from being made public; the White House said Monday it would “entertain” the request to release it.

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