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House Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff. Photo: Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

The Democrats' rebuttal to Rep. Devin Nunes' memo was released on Saturday, and states that the FBI and DOJ "did not 'abuse' the [FISA] process, omit material information, or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign," contrary to what the Nunes memo claims.

Why it matters: These memos have taken on a role in the inter-party battle over Russia that is in some ways disproportionate to what they actually contain. Sean Hannity, for example, claimed the Nunes memo revealed something "far worse than Watergate" and Trump claimed he was "totally vindicated" by it. Democrats countered that the Nunes memo was a piece of propaganda maliciously designed to undermine the Russia probe. We're seeing similar reactions now — but in reverse.

What they actually claim

The Nunes memo alleges that FBI and DOJ's justification for electronic surveillance of Carter Page came from the Steele dossier.

  • The Democrats' rebuttal says the FBI had independent reasons "to believe Carter Page was knowingly helping Russian intelligence."

The Nunes memo said there was "clear evidence of Steele's bias," which was not reflected in the FISA applications.

  • The rebuttal states the DOJ disclosed "the assessed political motivation of those who hired him."

The GOP memo criticized mention of Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos in the Page FISA application because there "is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos."

  • The rebuttal says the DOJ was providing "a comprehensive explanation of Russia's election interference, including evidence that Russia courted...Papadopoulos," and that information "provided the Court with a broader context in which to evaluate Russia's clandestine activities."

Nunes writes the FBI "separately authorized payment to Steele" for his information.

  • The rebuttal says "although the FBI initially considered compensation...Steele ultimately never received payment from the FBI for any 'dossier'-related information."

Text messages from former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were mentioned at the end of the GOP memo, in which they "demonstrated a clear bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton."

  • The Democrats' memo states that their texts "are irrelevant to the FISA application," and that Nunes "omits inconvenient text messages, in which they critiqued a wide range of other officials and candidates from both parties."
The timeline
  • January 21: Rep. Devin Nunes declines to show the FBI the memo he has written about alleged FISA abuses.
  • January 29: House Intelligence Committee Republicans vote to release Nunes' memo, and not to release a Democratic rebuttal.
  • January 31: The FBI warns it has "grave concerns" about the memo's accuracy and urges that it not be released.
  • February 2: With President Trump's approval, Nunes' memo is released without redactions.
  • February 5: The House Intelligence Committee votes unanimously to release the Democratic rebuttal.
  • February 9: Trump blocks the release of Schiff's rebuttal, citing security reasons, but says he is "inclined" to release a redacted version.
  • February 24: The redacted version of Schiff's memo is released.

UPDATE: Trump weighs in...

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Updated 5 hours ago - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.

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