THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY
Most damning of all, the document claims that testimony from Andrew McCabe himself confirmed that there would never have been a FISA warrant issued for Carter Page without the information from the Steele dossier.
It further states that the FBI and DOJ were well aware of the political nature of the Steele dossier when they decided to utilize it as evidence for a FISA warrant against Carter Page
In other words, the House Intelligence memo suggests that the FBI and Department of Justice knew full well that they used a politically-developed dossier in order to launch investigations and to attain warrants. This is a confirmation of everything that the Republicans said about it.
Finally, the document also revealed that Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr met with Steele in 2016, before the FISA applications were ever made, and that Ohr told the DOJ about Steele’s obvious political bias.
According to Bruce Ohr, Steele made statements that he was desperate to prevent then-candidate Donald Trump from becoming the President and that he was very passionate about that stance.
The document also suggests that the FBI and the Department of Justice knew what they did was wrong and that they took steps to conceal the information released in today’s document from the House Intelligence Committee.
According to the document, it was only the threat of contempt charges that forced the DOJ and FBI to hand over this information to the House Intelligence Committee.
The text of the document says that on October 21, 2016, the FBI and the DOJ filed for, and received approval for, a FISA probable cause order to utilize electronic surveillance on Carter Page.
Carter Page, a U.S. citizen, also served as a volunteer advisor to then-candidate Donald Trump and his campaign. This much is already known.
The FISA/FISC warrants and renewals were signed by various individuals. Then-FBI Director James Comey signed three FISA applications for the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one for the federal law enforcement agency.
On the Department of Justice side, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein each signed at LEAST one FISA application on behalf of the Department of Justice.
Though the actual FISA/FISC applications, warrants, and renewals are classified, the investigation found that in all cases, the Steele dossier formed “an essential part” of the FISA applications and renewals for surveillance of Carter Page.
The problem is that, when the original FISA application was filed in mid-October, it was already known that this information was not trustworthy and was politically biased.
The FISA applications also did not make any mention of the fact that the Steele dossier had been paid for by the Democrat National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Steele was paid $160,000 for his dossier, money transferred to him from the DNC and the Clinton campaign through Fusion GPS and a law firm, Perkins Coie. He was paid this money to find derogatory information concerning Donald Trump and his possible ties to Russia.
None of the FISA/FISC applications and renewals made any mention of the paid nature of the evidence they presented against Carter Page.
None of the applications made any mention of the political nature of the document.
Perhaps most importantly, none of the applications made any mention of the fact that Steele was, when he developed this dossier, working on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee.
In an interesting twist, the initial FISA application DID note that Steele was working on behalf of a named U.S. person, but neglects to name Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS or Fusion GPS.
Another glaring omission in the FISA applications is that it claims that Christopher Steele did NOT leak information to Yahoo News. In fact, the FISA application cites a Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff as evidence of the necessity for the electronic surveillance. Steele admitted in British court filings that he met with multiple outlets in September 2016 on orders from Fusion GPS.
Perkins Coie was also aware of these meetings, as they hosted a meeting between Fusion GPS and where they were discussed.
Steele’s relationship with the FBI was suspended, then TERMINATED, due to an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI that he made during an October 30, 2016 Mother Jones article. However, he made the same revelation in the Yahoo News article, which was published in September 2016, almost a month before his dossier was used as an ‘essential’ part of the initial FISA application.
Steele was terminated, in part, because he concealed his contacts with these media outlets.
The FBI and the Department of Justice were well aware of Steele’s personal convictions concerning the upcoming election before they used his dossier as an ‘essential’ part of the FISA applications. Assistant Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr recorded, in both DOJ and FBI files, Steele’s personal political convictions.
Somehow, this was never mentioned in any FISA/FISC application.
The memo also stated that the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, Assistant Director Bill Priestap, said that they had just begun the process of corroborating the dossier when the FBI used it as the basis of the initial FISA/FISC application for surveillance of Carter Page.
After Steele was terminated by the FBI, an inspection of the report conducted by an independent unit within the FBI stated that the Steele dossier was minimally corroborated at best.
FBI Director McCabe testified that there would have been no surveillance warrant via FISA/FISC if not for the document, which he himself identified as “salacious and unverified,” and which the FBI could barely corroborate.
This memo raises multiple questions, the first of which is a classic ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ question.
The ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ is a legal concept concerning the handling of evidence. According to this concept, evidence gathered illegally is inadmissible. Using unverified claims, or those known or believed to be false, can cause anything gained by a warrant to be considered ‘fruit of the poisonous tree.’
Does the FBI and DOJ’s utilization of information they knew to be politically slanted, developed for pay by a person who was essentially an agent of the Democrat party and the Hillary Clinton campaign, and authored by a person who has multiple reasons to insert his own bias count as ‘evidence’ in the eyes of the FBI?
A law enforcement organization cannot use shoddy evidence as the basis for a warrant, especially if that evidence is politically connected and possibly concocted.
This memo certainly makes it appear that the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations utilized what they knew to be a politically-motivated document in order to launch an investigation.
If that is the case, then the entire Mueller investigation is without purpose. This would be a blow to Democrats, and to those who want to believe that there’s evidence of collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians.
Devin Nunes, a Republican Congressman from California’s 22nd Congressional District, did the legwork, not only in putting together this memo, but also in seeing it released, and he should be commended for his work in bringing this information to the attention of the American people.