The memo released Friday by the House Intelligence Committee makes many claims about the FBI’s surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page—and suggests that federal law enforcement authorities are tainted by partisanship.
“Our findings,” the Republican members of the committee argue in the memo, “represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes…related to the (surveillance) process.”
Here is a fact-check about the memo and its claims about the FBI’s warrant request under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act:
Claim: The FBI should have told a judge about information “favorable” to Page when requesting a warrant, such as the Democratic National Committee’s connection to the funding for the Steele Dossier.
The DNC provided funding to continue the investigation run by Fusion GPS into President Donald Trump and his ties to Russia, but the investigation was originally funded by conservative outlet the Washington Free Beacon during the Republican primaries as an attempt to gain some opposition research to undermine Trump.
Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent, to investigate connections between Trump and Russia, and Steele included some of the raw intelligence he gathered in the now infamous Steele Dossier that included claims about Page meeting Russian officials in Moscow. Those claims have been subsequently corroborated, and Page has admitted having those meetings.
There is no legal obligation for the FBI to provide evidence that could argue against their own warrant request. Instead several layers of Justice Department officials have to approve the request based on corroborated claims.
However the Steele Dossier was funded, it wouldn’t matter because any assertions from the dossier used in the warrant request would have to have been backed up elsewhere, according to Justice Department rules.
Claim: Steele was suspended as an informant to the FBI for leaking to the press
Steele stopped working with the FBI in October, 2016, according to testimony from Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. Simpson told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Steele had stopped working with the FBI because he was concerned about leaks to the press, particularly after an October 31 story published by the New York Times claimed that the FBI had not found a link between Russia and the Trump campaign.