California Rep. Devin Nunes said Wednesday that he has finally seen the Justice Department memo that laid out the parameters of the special counsel’s probe.
Nunes, a Republican, indicated in an interview on Fox News’s “Hannity” that the Aug. 2, 2017 memo shows the infamous and unverified Steele dossier was relevant to the special counsel’s probe.
“Ultimately, that Steele dossier permeated all the way through, ultimately to the special counsel,” said Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee.
“I was finally able to see the scope memo,” he continued. “And remember, I had these concerns that it was based upon the Steele dossier.”
Nunes said he was unable to talk about what else is in the memo, seemingly because it contains classified information.
Democrats have tried to downplay the significance of the Steele dossier to the Trump-Russia probe. They’ve pointed out that the dossier, which former British spy Christopher Steele wrote and Democrats funded, was not the catalyst for the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign, which started on July 31, 2016.
The FBI did rely heavily on the dossier for some parts of its investigation. The bureau used the salacious document to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Carter Page, a Trump campaign aide.
Nunes has pressed the Justice Department for an unredacted version of the memo. Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel on May 17, 2017, wrote the memo to clarify the scope of the investigation. (RELATED: Nunes: Redacted Parts Of Carter Page FISAs ‘Really Bad’ For FBI)
Mueller’s report of the Russia probe provided a summary of what is mentioned in the memo.
“It then confirmed that the Special Counsel had been authorized since his appointment to investigate allegations that three Trump campaign officials — Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and George Papadopoulos — ‘committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials with respect to the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election,'” reads the report.
Republicans have accused the FBI of abusing the FISA process by relying on Steele’s report since it was Democrat-funded opposition research that had not been verified. The special counsel’s report all but debunked several significant claims in the dossier, including that Page was part of a “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation” with the Russian government.
The special counsel’s report said prosecutors did not establish that Trump associates conspired with Russia. Page was also not charged with a crime.
A redacted version of the scope memo was released during court proceedings for Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman.
The memo also authorized Mueller to investigate “four sets of allegations” regarding former national security adviser Michael Flynn. It also granted Mueller approval to investigate whether Papadopoulos, another Trump aide, was working as an agent for Israel.
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