The question that has hovered over the memo produced by Chairman Devin Nunes and fellow Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee is: What, and how much, was left out?

Now, three weeks later, Democrats on the committee have provided helpful answers. On Saturday, they released their memo in response, parts redacted following an assessment by the FBI and the Justice Department. The document confirms the cherry-picking of the majority, and, more, it reinforces that investigators have operated by the book as they have looked into the Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential election and possible connections to the Trump campaign.

Take the diverting claim by Nunes and allies that the FBI and the Justice Department (plus by extension Robert Mueller, the special counsel) have been driven by bias. They argue investigators relied too heavily on the “dossier” gathered by Christopher Steele, a former British spy, especially in seeking court permission to conduct surveillance of Carter Page, a Trump adviser.

What the Democratic memo makes clear is that the FBI was forthcoming to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court. The memo does so by making direct reference to the warrant request as submitted by the bureau. The application points to the hiring of Steele as part of an effort to collect “information that could be used to discredit” the Trump candidacy.

So the bureau didn’t hide from the court that the Steele work fit as opposition research, or carried a partisan edge. As it is, conservatives first hired the investigative firm that contracted with Steele and then the Clinton campaign picked up the tab.

Neither was the Steele information the trigger for the investigation. As the Democratic memo outlines, authorities first learned about the Steele dossier in September 2016. They opened their investigation two months earlier. (Actually, the Nunes memo says as much, though not explicitly.)

What matters about information in investigations at virtually all levels is not the source but whether it proves true. In that way, the Steele dossier was part of a larger mix, and as the Democratic memo shows, federal authorities found information they collected through independent sources corroborated reporting by Steele.

That is no surprise. Steele long has been highly respected in the intelligence community It follows, too, that Carter Page would be a likely target for surveillance because of his ties to the Trump team and Russia, concerns going back to 2013 about his potential as a witting or unwitting Russian agent.

The Democratic memo further adds that contrary to suggestions of a conspiracy against President Trump, the four judges who gave approval to the surveillance warrants were nominated by Republican presidents. The judges saw the need and then merit in the results leading to the renewals. If anything was politically motivated, it was the Nunes memo, a distraction now exposed for what it left out.