Nunes Memo Alleges Page FISA Warrants Left Out Investigative Ties to Dems
WASHINGTON -- The memo prepared by staff of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) was released today, alleging as expected that the FBI withheld information from the FISA court and going hard after the British intelligence operative who crafted a controversial dossier.
A White House letter topping the document clarified that the memo "reflects the judgments of its congressional authors" and said President Trump "understands that oversight concerning matters related to the Memorandum may be continuing."
The memo notes that Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was the subject of multiple approved Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants from the FBI and Department of Justice; new probable cause must be proven at each renewal. Former FBI Director James Comey signed off on three warrants and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one, the memo says, while at the DOJ then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, then-Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "each signed one or more" applications. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been recused from the Russia investigation since March 2.
The memo does not go into detail about why Page was being monitored. Page, who has admitted to traveling to Russia during the presidential campaign but said it was for personal reasons, met with Russia's state-owned oil company Rosneft during his Trump campaign tenure, according to the Steele dossier.
Renewal by the FISA court, the memo states, "is necessarily dependent on the government's production to the court of all material and relevant facts," and "should include information potentially favorable to the target of the FISA application."
"In the case of Carter Page, the government had at least four independent opportunities before the FISC to accurately provide an accounting of the relevant facts," the memo alleges. "However, our findings indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted."
The memo states that the Democratic National Committee "paid over $160,000" to former MI6 operative Christopher Steele, referred to as "a longtime FBI source," via law firm Perkins Coie and research firm GPS "to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump's ties to Russia." The memo does not note that the dossier project was started by the Washington Free Beacon as a "never Trump" effort during the GOP primary.
The October 2016 FISA application to the court, as well "any of the renewals," the memo continues, didn't "disclose or reference the role of the DNC" or "any party/campaign in funding Steele's efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials." The first FISA application doesn't explicitly say Steele was working for Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson or say "the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information."