(National Sentinel) Bust: Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee on Friday released their version of a “FISA memo” in which they claimed that the Justice Department and FBI acted appropriately in launching a counterintelligence investigation against the Trump campaign in 2016.
As did the Republican FISA memo, the Democratic version referenced the FBI’s reliance on the so-called “Trump dossier” as alleged evidence that an investigation was warranted, though the Democratic memo insisted DoJ only made “limited use” of the document.
What’s more, the Democratic memo claims that DoJ and FBI officials “repeatedly informed” the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the dossier’s author, former British spy Christopher Steele, may have had political motivations behind his report.
The DoJ “repeatedly informed the Court about Steele’s background, credibility, and potential bias,” Fox News reported. And the Democrat memo maintained that the Justice Department told the FISA court that Steele was hired by “politically motivated U.S. persons and entities and that his research appeared intended for use “to discredit” Trump’s campaign.
The Democrat memo also claimed that in DoJ’s FISA court requests and later FISA renewals, officials provided “additional information obtained through multiple independent sources” that backed up Steele’s reporting.
However, that directly contradicts testimony given by former FBI Director James Comey last year. He told the Senate Intelligence Committee the opposite — that three months after a FISA court warrant on former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page was issued that he still considered the dossier “unverified” and “salacious” when he briefed incoming President Trump in January 2017 at Trump Tower.
Fox News also reported that “the memo [also] did not directly challenge the Republican assertion that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testified to the House Committee that they would not have sought the Page surveillance warrant had it not been for that infamous dossier.”
In addition, a newly declassified criminal referral from Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for Steele said that President Obama’s DoJ relied “heavily” on the unverified dossier.
Regarding the Democratic assertion that Steele’s bias was clearly relayed to the FISA court, Republicans countered that it was actually “buried in a footnote” that obscures rather than clarifies his motives.
“The American people now clearly understand that the FBI used political dirt paid for by the Democratic Party to spy on an American citizen from the Republican Party,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. said in a statement.
“Furthermore, the FISA court was misled about Mr. Page’s past interactions with the FBI in which he helped build a case against Russian operatives in America who were brought to justice. It defies belief that the Department of Justice and FBI failed to provide information to a secret court that they had provided to an open federal court regarding their past interactions with Mr. Page,” he added.
The White House has also discounted the Democratic memo.
As the Majority’s memorandum stated, the FISA judge was never informed that Hillary Clinton and the DNC funded the dossier that was a basis for the Department of Justice’s FISA application,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
“In addition, the Minority’s memo fails to even address the fact that the Deputy FBI Director told the Committee that had it not been for the dossier, no surveillance order would have been sought,” she added.
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