House Republican members of the Intelligence Committee released the controversial Nunes Memo today, named after the committee’s chairman, and memo author, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA). The memo highlights alleged abuses by the FBI and the DOJ in obtaining warrants to spy on the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
The House Intelligence Committee voted last Monday to make the memo public. The president had five days to either approve the release or object to it. President Trump approved the release this morning, and the memo was made public by the Intelligence Committee.
It memo raises questions about the methods that the FBI and DOJ used to obtain FISA warrants to spy on Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. The main allegation contained in the memo is that the FBI used information contained in the Steele dossier, that was uncorroborated, as the basis for FISA applications used to obtain warrants against Page.
The FBI has denied that the Steele dossier was the nexus of their investigation. It has been reported that information passed from another foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos to an Australian diplomat, served as the origin for the FBI interests in the Trump campaign. But the dossier does raise questions about circuitous sourcing that may have been used in obtaining of warrants.
The memo claims that the FISA application to grant surveillance of Carter Page cited extensively, a September 23, 2016 article in Yahoo News that focuses heavily on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. But the memo claims that the information used in the Yahoo article came from Christopher Steele, who has admitted in British court filings that he met with several news outlets, including Yahoo News, and discussed the findings of his research with them during that time. The memo states that the FISA application was submitted in October 2016, after Steele’s meetings with the outlets.
The FBI and DOJ, as well as congressional Democrats, have raised concerns about the accuracy of the memo. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy,” a statement from the FBI read.
Democrats have written their own memo which they say was necessary to “set out the relevant facts” and “expose the misleading character of the Republicans’ document.” A vote to make that document public failed to advance last week. Democrats are hoping to gain enough votes in a House Intelligence Committee meeting scheduled Monday, to release their document.