A number of top FBI and Justice Department officials neglected to provide essential information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) when applying for a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, according to the House Intelligence Committee memo produced Friday.
The memo states that Former FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, and former Attorney General Sally Yates were all required to sign off on the FISC warrant application before it was reviewed and ultimately approved.
“As required by statute (50 U.S.C.), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the ISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications,” the memo reads.
The memo further claims those officials were aware at the time of their signing that the unsubstantiated Steele opposition research dossier, which was included to bolster their warrant application, was paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign; but the application did not include that information.
While the memo asserts the dossier was used in the initial warrant application, it does not specify if it was used in the three successive applications to extend the warrant, which must be filed every 90 days and must include new evidence to support probable cause. The aforementioned four senior agents signed off at various points throughout the roughly one year Page was under surveillance.
The importance of the infamous Steele dossier is demonstrated clearly in the memo, which cites McCabe as having testified that the warrant to surveil Page would not have been approved without the politically funded opposition research.
“Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information”
President Donald Trump indicated he was open to the possibility of firing Rosenstein due to his role in failing to disclose the political funding behind the salacious Steele dossier on the FBI’s FISC warrant application.
“Does it make you more likely to fire Rosenstein? Do you still have confidence in him?” Trump was asked by reporters in the oval office Friday after the highly anticipated memo was released.
“You figure that one out,” Trump responded, according to the White House press pool.
Comey lashed out at Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee for moving forward with releasing the memo despite protests from FBI officials, who released a statement indicating they had “grave concerns” that the memo would compromise intelligence methods and sources.
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.
— James Comey (@Comey) February 2, 2018
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have drafted their own memo, which they claim includes essential details left out of the Republican version. Republicans on the intel panel voted against releasing the Democratic counter to the public Monday, citing security concerns. But they did vote to release it to all House members and many Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have said they support making it public once it is properly redacted.
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