Rep. Devin Nunes laid out a list of topics Sunday he hopes will be explained in a forthcoming Justice Department watchdog’s report on the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign, including details of a piece of exculpatory information regarding former Trump campaign aide Carter Page that the Republican says was withheld from surveillance court judges.
“We know there’s exculpatory evidence that we’ve seen on Carter Page that they didn’t give to the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] FISA court. That’s critical,” Nunes said in an interview on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” hosted by Maria Bartiromo. (RELATED: The FISA Report Is Finally Coming. Here’s What To Know About It)
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will release a report Monday on the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign, as well as surveillance against Page.
The bureau relied heavily on the unverified Steele dossier in four applications for surveillance warrants against Page. The applications asserted that there was probable cause to believe Page was working as an agent of Russia. The special counsel’s report undermined that theory by saying there was no evidence any Trump associates worked as Russian agents or conspired with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election. (RELATED: ANALYSIS: As FISA Report Draws Near, A Review Of The FBI’s Flimsy Claims About Carter Page)
Republicans have long hinted at exculpatory information that the FBI withheld from FISA court judges. Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, began in 2018 calling for the declassification of 21 pages in the fourth and final FISA application against Page. Those portions of the FISA applications have yet to be declassified, and it remains to be seen if Horowitz’s report will unveil the information.
The California representative also addressed reports that a former FBI lawyer who led the Russia probe in its earliest stages altered documents that were included in the Page FISA applications. The New York Times and Washington Post have reported that the lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, has been referred to the Justice Department for further investigation.
Clinesmith has been identified as the FBI attorney who sent anti-Trump text messages, including one stating, “Viva le Resistance.” Clinesmith also took part in at least one interview with George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser who is alleged to be the catalyst for the Trump-Russia investigation. (RELATED: FBI Lawyer Who Sent Anti-Trump ‘Resistance’ Text Messages Also Altered Russia Probe Documents: Report)
“If the news story’s true about the head lawyer doctoring evidence, that would be massive,” Nunes said of the reports about Clinesmith.
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