Lawmakers: Memo doesn't clear Trump in probe

Lawmakers: Memo doesn't clear Trump in probe

The information contained in the memo released by House Republicans on Friday that accused FBI and Justice Department officials of improperly obtaining permission to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser shows a tragic failure of leadership on the part of former FBI Director James Comey.

Tweeting from his resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Saturday, Trump called Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of election interference a "witch hunt" and a "disgrace" and said the memo "totally vindicates" him. It also asserts the FBI and Justice Department, in their application to the FISA court, used media reporting to lend credibility to the dossier, which they failed to disclose was a political opposition document funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Even as Democrats described it as inaccurate, some Republicans quickly cited the memo - released over the objections of the FBI and Justice Department - in their arguments that Mueller's investigation is politically tainted. "But the work you do is important and I believe in our mission and support what we do everyday".

The Page warrant was not issued until October 21, 2016, and by then, Page was no longer affiliated with the Trump Campaign.

"We write to inform you that we would consider such an unwarranted action as an attempt to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Nancy Pelosi and eight other key Democrats said in a statement.

These revealed "the research was being paid for by a political entity", said one official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the matter's sensitivity. Trump is conflating the possibility the FISA warrant against Page with the broader investigation into Russia's attempted meddling in a national US election.

As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes spearheaded the GOP memo, which was made public Friday by the committee with the approval of President Donald Trump.

When news came out that Carter Page was the subject of counter-intelligence investigation, Trump and his staff were suddenly acting like they barely knew him, even though Trump is on the record as citing him as one of his foreign policy advisors.

Panetta, a Democrat who also served as defence secretary under President Barack Obama, said it would be "a big mistake" if Trump moved to fire Rosenstein or Mueller.

That said, it is worth remembering that the Democrats' dossier wasn't determinative in launching the entire Russia probe. This memo alleges the dossier put together by ex-British spy Christopher Steele was "an essential part" of that application. This suggests that it's possible the wiretap on Page collected more probable cause, independent of the dossier. It speaks of concerns with the legitimacy and legality of how the Department of Justice and FBI have worked with the FISA, or Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and says, "There is a troubling breakdown of legal processes".

The memo is named for Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the US House Intelligence Committee that is ostensibly conducting its own investigation into the Russia allegations.

Steele was working for Fusion GPS, a firm initially hired by the conservative Washington Free Beacon to do opposition research on Trump.

"There must be a review of past FISA warrants and unmasking orders to determine whether there are other instances of the government knowingly submitting faulty or biased evidence to the court in order to get secret warrants on American citizens", Duncan said. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, said, "I don't", when asked whether he agreed with Trump.

"The White House has therefore been reviewing a document since Monday night that the committee never approved for public release", Schiff said in the letter.

Gowdy, best known for leading the House GOP's Benghazi probe of Clinton, said the point of the memo should be to spotlight "a really sloppy process" and little more. The memo describes him as having told the committee that no surveillance warrant would have been sought without the dossier.

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