|(image via Flickr – Dave Newman)|
On Monday, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted to release a four-page memo which they say shows serious anti-Trump bias in the FBI’s ongoing investigation into possible Russian interference and/or collusion with the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
The memo pulls information used to obtain the original FISA warrant which allowed U.S. intelligence units to surveil foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, Carter Page, who was apparently communicating with Russian officials.
House Democrats contend the memo “cherry-picks” only parts of the warrant to paint a certain picture. The Dems wrote their own memo to be released with the GOP version, but the Republicans on the committee blocked that from happening.
For clarity, it’s useful to know that the average FISA warrant application contains between 50-60 pages. So four pages would clearly not represent full transparency.
The Justice Department has already raised flags about the danger of releasing the memo.
And now the FBI, under command of Director Christopher Wray (hand-picked by Donald Trump), says the bureau has “grave concerns” about releasing the memo.
From The New York Times:
The “F.B.I. was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it,” the bureau said in a statement. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
Though Mr. Wray’s name was not attached to the statement, the high-profile comment by the F.B.I. thrust him into a confrontation with President Trump, who abruptly fired his predecessor, James B. Comey. Mr. Trump wants to see the memo released, telling people close to him that he believes it makes the case that F.B.I. and Justice Department officials acted inappropriately when they sought the highly classified warrant in October 2016 on the campaign adviser, Carter Page.
The president’s stance puts him at odds with much of his national security establishment. The Justice Department has warned repeatedly that the memo, prepared by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, is misleading and that its release would set a bad precedent for making government secrets public. F.B.I. officials have said privately that the president is prioritizing politics over national security and is putting the bureau’s reputation at risk.
Republicans say it was not made clear to the judge who signed off on the warrant that part of the info in the application, the now-infamous “Steele dossier,” was financed in part by the Democrats during the election.
Donald Trump has claimed the dossier has been proven to be wholly false, but in reality some parts of the dossier have been proven.
Congressional Republicans have been trying to discredit not only the dossier but agents within the FBI. They point to private text messages between two agents last year that seemed to indicate sympathy for Hillary Clinton.
Interestingly, CNN is reporting today that one of those agents, Peter Strzok, who was removed from the investigation, actually drafted former FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congress that reopened the investigation into her email use.
Strzok, who co-wrote what appears to be the first draft that formed the basis of the letter Comey sent to Congress, also supported reopening the Clinton investigation once the emails were discovered on disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop, according to a source familiar with Strzok’s thinking. The day after Strzok sent his draft to his colleagues, Comey released the letter to Congress, reigniting the email controversy in the final days of the campaign.
Now, if Strzok wanted the investigation reopened, how does that make him “sympathetic” to Hillary Clinton?
NEWS: FBI Agent Peter Strzok, attacked by Trump for “treason” over his texts, also did something that roiled the Clinton campaign: He wrote the first draft of the Comey letter reopening Clinton probe. Story via @LauraAJarrett @jeremyherb and me https://t.co/WONdSHW580— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 31, 2018
More @CNN breaking: Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who sent the texts mocking Trump and others and was ousted from Mueller's team, actually co-wrote the draft letter reopening the Clinton email probe.— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) January 31, 2018