On Friday, President Trump approved the release of a controversial Republican memo authored by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). The document alleges the FBI abused surveillance laws to improperly surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page.
"The 'dossier' compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application," the memo alleges, referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The memo additionally notes that "neither the initial application … nor any of the renewals disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele's efforts."
The memo also claims that Steele told then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr ahead of the 2016 election that he "was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president." The memo adds that "this [is] clear evidence of Steele's bias."
The Steele dossier alleges a number of Trump campaign associates, including Page and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, corresponded or met with Russian officials about dropping sanctions against Moscow if Trump won the election. It additionally alleges that Russia has compromising information on Trump that could be used to blackmail him.
Notably, Russian intelligence operatives first tried to recruit Page in 2013, long before the election. "The FBI interviewed Mr. Page in 2013 as part of an investigation into the spy ring, but decided that he had not known the man [he met with] was a spy, and the bureau never accused Mr. Page of wrongdoing," The New York Times writes.
Republicans pushed for the Nunes memo to be released, disregarding warnings from the Justice Department that its publication would be "extraordinarily reckless." In a rare public statement, the FBI said Wednesday that it has "grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact" the accuracy of the memo. Read the full document here. Jeva Lange