FISA Memo Released: Here’s What It Says
The just released FISA memo accuses senior officials at the DOJ of inappropriately using biased opposition research into then-candidate Trump to obtain surveillance warrants on transition team members as part of the federal investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.
According to the document, information from the the so-called Steele dossier was “essential” to the acquisition of surveillance warrants on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. It claims that then-deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe told the committee in December that without the information from the Steele dossier, no surveillance warrant for Page would have been sought.
The memo alleges that the political origins of the dossier — paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) — were not disclosed to the clandestine court that signed off on the warrant request.
The document claims that although the FBI had “clear evidence” that the author of the dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele, was biased against Trump, it did not convey that to the surveillance court when making its warrant applications. Steele told then-associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr that he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” the memo says.
House conservatives have touted the memo’s revelations as “worse than Watergate” and hinted that it could prove the undoing of the federal investigation into Trump’s campaign. Meanwhile, Democrats on the panel say that it is a cherry-picked set of inaccurate accusations designed to kneecap special counsel Robert Mueller. They have drafted their own counter-memo to rebut the Republican-drafted document, but the majority voted against immediately making that document public earlier this week.
The memo is based on a slate of highly-classified materials provided to the committee by the Justice Department itself, in a closed-door deal brokered by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Naturally, the DOJ has claimed that the release of the memo is an abrogation of the terms of that deal, an assertion spokesmen for both Ryan and Nunes have rejected.
Meanwhile, the underlying evidence remains classified, a state of affairs that Democrats and some national security analysts say makes it impossible to independently verify the memo’s conclusions.
As The Hill reported earlier, ahead of the document’s release, Paul Ryan privately urged House Republicans not to overplay the document — and not to tie it to the Mueller investigation.