You want collusion? This is collusion — Editorial

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For years I have been leading calls in the Senate to protect our civil liberties and reform our surveillance authorities under FISA.

In perhaps the most dramatic statement of all, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) tweeted that the memo was "worse than Watergate". "We are committed to working with the appropriate oversight entities to ensure the continuing integrity of the FISA process". "The right wing media will spin off in 100 different directions".

"This ignores the inconvenient fact that the investigation did not begin with, or arise from Christopher Steele or the dossier, and that the investigation would persist on the basis of wholly independent evidence had Christopher Steele never entered the picture", the Democrats added.

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill June 8, 2017 in Washington, DC.

It purports to show that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department misled a U.S. court in seeking to extend electronic surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. In July of 2016, he traveled to the country and gave a strongly pro-Putin speech.

Ignoring the urgings of the FBI earlier this week, Trump declassified the memo and sent it to Congress. The Republican president told reporters that the contents of the document tell a disgraceful story and that "a lot of people should be ashamed".

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"He went on to say that the intention of the memo was obviously to "sow confusion and chaos" around the Russia investigation".

The memo also specifically names the FBI and Department of Justice officials who signed the original warrant, and three renewal warrants, for Mr Page's surveillance.

He declined to say whether he still had faith in Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing the Justice Department's investigation into possible Trump campaign ties to Russia.

The memo points out that officials relied partly on a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence official, Christopher Steele, who was conducting research that, unbeknownst to the court, was surreptitiously paid for by Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. "What is the president afraid of?"

Jack Langer, a spokesman for Nunes, confirmed that the memo had been edited, but said that the changes included "grammatical fixes and two edits requested by the FBI and by the Minority (the Democrats) themselves". They alleged that the document was a move towards firing Russia inquiry chief Robert Mueller, and warned that this could cause a "constitutional crisis".

Meanwhile, a legal campaign by several major news organizations to have Comey's own memos about his conversations with Trump released to the public ended, after a judge for the District of Columbia Circuit Court denied the case. "That's called circular reporting", one journalist said Friday. President Trump, as well as Russian authorities, has denied all accusations of collusion and the Kremlin's meddling in US elections.

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