The much anticipated FISA memo from the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Devin Nunes (R-California), was released on Friday February 2 after President Trump authorized its declassification.
The four-page memo confirmed that in October 2016, the FBI and DOJ had obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) a warrant to conduct electronic surveillance on Carter Page, a volunteer adviser to the Donald Trump presidential campaign, in search of evidence of the campaign’s collusion with Russia, based on the information contained in a dossier prepared by Christopher Steele, a former British spy and longtime FBI source. The memo revealed that the initial FISA application for the surveillance of Page did not mention that Steele had been hired by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign to spy on Team Trump in search of a Russian connection, a service for which he was paid $160,000 via the law firm Perkins Cole and the research firm Fusion GPS, even though high up members of the FBI and DOJ were aware of the dossier’s political roots.
At the time the DOJ was also aware that Steele had expressed anti-Trump sentiments in his communications with Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, most notably in September 2016, when he told Ohr that he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president”.
None of the aforementioned information was disclosed during the three subsequent warrant renewal applications. The FBI and the DOJ also said nothing about Steele leaking information from the dossier to Yahoo News in July 2016 for an article published by Michael Isikoff. And when the FBI terminated Steele as a source on October 30, 2016, after he made an “unauthorized” disclosure that he was an FBI informant to the publication Mother Jones for an article by David Corn, they failed to disclose the severed relationship to the FISA court. Instead, they continued to use the now compromised dossier as a basis for continuing the surveillance of Page and the advancing of the Trump Campaign Russian Collusion narrative.
President Trump was very satisfied by the findings of the GOP memo. He tweeted on Saturday morning “This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. There was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!”
While most conservatives support the findings of GOP memo and are outraged by the way that select members of DOJ and the FBI allowed themselves to be compromised, the Democrats and the liberal media are the ones now crying fake news. Former FBI Director James Comey was quick to discredit the memo tweeting on February 2, “That’s it? Dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the House intel committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community, damaged relationship with FISA court, and inexcusably exposed classified investigation of an American citizen. For what? DOJ & FBI must keep doing their jobs.”
Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee (D-California) also dismissed the memo, telling reporters that the court knew that there was a “likely political motivation” behind the Steele dossier. The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times also assert that their sources maintain that the FISA Court was aware that the dossier was financed by a political party. Schiff also discounted the memo’s use of testimony from former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who stated during his December 2017 testimony before the House Select Committee that the surveillance warrant of Page would never have been sought without the Steele dossier, by arguing that Nunes “cherry-picked” verbiage from McCabe.
In addition, according to an article from NBC on Saturday, February 3, Representative Jerry Nadler (NY), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, released a six page rebuttal to the GOP memo. Nadler’s response asserts that the memo fails to demonstrate that the federal government had no other evidence beyond the Steele dossier to substantiate the Carter Page surveillance warrant. Nadler also argues that Steele’s expertise on Russia and organized crime would have carried higher weight with the FISA Court than any potential concerns about the political affiliations of his financing sources.
So what will happen next in what will probably later be named “FISAGate”? Will the Democrats release their much talked about version of the GOP memo? Will Representative Nunes release the phase two memo he has referenced? Will the GOP memos prove to be the smoking gun that truly vindicates President Trump and his presidential campaign from any Russian collusion allegations? Or is FISAGate just another chapter in the ongoing war to delegitimize the Trump administration?
Image: CC0 Creative Commons: Excerpted from: https://pixabay.com/en/hand-writing-pen-people-author-325321/