The inspector general of the Department of Justice has announced the opening of an investigation into actions by DOJ and FBI officials in the obtaining of FISA warrants “related to a certain U.S. person.” The “certain U.S. person” is widely believed to be former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
It was revealed earlier this year that Carter Page had been the subject of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant after he had left the Trump campaign. The DOJ started surveilling Page in October 2016 and had the warrant for Page renewed three times.
The FBI first became suspicious of Page in 2016, stemming from meetings he reportedly had with Russian officials, in Russia, at various points during 2016. While in Russia, Page met with a Russian official who, among other things, allegedly disclosed to Page that the Kremlin possessed compromising information on Hillary Clinton and noted the possibility of that information being released to Donald Trump’s campaign.
Russian officials also allegedly offered this information in exchange for U.S. sanctions on Russian businesses being dropped should Donald Trump become President.
Republicans on Capitol Hill allege that the warrant to spy on Page was approved by a FISA court after the FBI submitted unsubstantiated allegations contained in the infamous Steele dossier, the report put together by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele that asserts that the Kremlin has been cultivating a relationship with Trump for years and secretly helped him win the election.
The FBI has not commented publicly, but Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo last month that revealed information from the actual FISA applications used to obtain the Page warrants and that memo alleges that the Steele dossier played no role in obtaining the warrants on Page. According to the memo, the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign started nearly campaign two months before the team investigating the campaign received the Steele dossier.
President Trump has long been prodding Attorney General Jeff Sessions to open an investigation into abuses by the FBI and DOJ regarding FISA applications. Sessions had up until this point resisted the calls. But the Inspector General Michael Horowitz, said that he was opening the investigation up in response to requests by Sessions.
Horowitz said his office will be investigating the information that was available to the FBI and DOJ about Steele at the time and how they relate to the applications to obtain FISA warrants on Page.
“As part of this examination, the [Office of the Inspector General] also will review information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source. Additionally, the OIG will review the DOJ’s and FBI’s relationship and communications with the alleged source as they relate to the FISC applications,” a statement by the IG’s office read.
Photo: Attorney General Jeff Sessions (right) with Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz (left). Photo by Ryan J. Reilly via Flickr.