House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Republican Devin Nunes, has alleged crimes were committed in the FBI’s obtaining of FISA warrants to spy on former members of the Trump campaign. In a letter written to the Justice Department, Nunes asks Attorney General Jeff Sessions “what steps the DOJ/FBI has taken to hold accountable” the officials who violated the relevant protocols.
Nunes, quoting the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, the FBI’s manual for conducting domestic investigations, writes “only documented and verified information may be used to support FBI applications [FISA] to the court [FISC].
Nunes and other Republican lawmakers contend that the FBI violated these protocols by using unconfirmed and uncorroborated information found in the Steele dossier to obtain FISA warrants to spy on members of the Trump campaign, specifically former foreign policy adviser Carter Page. That allegation was made in a memo written by Nunes and other Republican lawmakers which was made public several weeks ago.
A Democratic memo written in rebuttal claims that the FBI never used the Steele dossier to obtain the warrants, that they received information contained in the Steele dossier nearly seven weeks after beginning their own investigation and that in presenting the Steele dossier to the FISA court, they were transparent about its origins as political opposition research.
Republican lawmakers, as well as President Trump, remain unconvinced. In the wake of the release of the Democratic memo, the President said during an interview, “A lot of bad things happened on the other side, not on this side, but the other side. And somebody should look into it because what they did was really fraudulent.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this week that the DOJ will investigate potential abuses by the FBI in obtaining warrants to spy on Page. “Yes, it will be investigated,” he said.
Nunes’ letter, which was sent two days after Sessions’ announcement, seems designed to keep the pressure on Sessions, the DOJ, as well as the FBI. Nunes directs Sessions to submit responses to his concerns to the Committee no later than March 8, 2018.
“Congressional oversight is designed to hold agencies accountable. I trust that you share this view, and will assist the Committee’s investigation into violations of DIOG procedures related to the use of the Steele dossier in FISA applications,” Nunes wrote.