Home / World News / Six key takeaways from the GOP memo alleging FBI bias in the Russia investigation – The Denver Post

Six key takeaways from the GOP memo alleging FBI bias in the Russia investigation – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON – Republicans claim that when the FBI got a secret court order to spy on Trump campaign foreign adviser Carter Page during the election, it relied “extensively” on information from a politically motivated ex-British spy who was being funded by Democrats to find dirt on Donald Trump. And it didn’t share those political motivations with a secret court that ultimately authorized the surveillance.

That’s the gist of the declassified memo written by House Republicans, which Trump agreed Friday to release despite concerns from the FBI and Justice Department that this memo is inaccurate and risks undermining source-gathering methods and ongoing investigations.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the allegations in the memo and the outstanding questions surrounding it.

1. The dossier funded by Democrats formed “an essential part” of the FBI’s application to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Getting a secret court to approve spying on an American citizen is no small thing. It requires an application that former FBI director James B. Comey has said is “thicker than my wrists.” Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa told The Post that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application (referred to as “FISA application” in the memo) likely involved a dozen people’s insights and intelligence. This memo alleges the dossier put together by ex-British spy Christopher Steele was “an essential part” of that application.

Page was also on the FBI’s radar at least since 2013, so it would be remarkable if the dossier, which was shared with the FBI in late 2016, was the essential piece of information used for the application.

Outstanding questions: Given this seems to be THE key point of the memo – the FBI relied on a politically motivated document to spy on a U.S. citizen – its description of how important the Steele memo was to the FBI’s surveillance of Page is vague. How much is “an essential” part of the application? The FBI officials have told the Post that the memo was far from the only piece of intel it used to get a court to spy on Page.

2. Senior Justice and FBI officials knew Democrats were funding this research, but didn’t tell the court of the party’s role.

When BuzzFeed published this dossier in January 2017, we didn’t know who funded Steele’s work. We now know Democrats were indirectly. A conservative publication hired opposition research group Fusion GPS to get dirt on Trump during the GOP primaries. After Trump won the Republican presidential nomination, the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign started paying Fusion GPS to continue the research. That’s when Fusion GPS hired Steele.

This memo alleges that the FBI and top Justice officials knew Democrats were funding the dossier, but it did not share that with the court that approved the original surveillance order or any of the four renewals. (A surveillance order must be renewed every 90 days, where FBI officials must convince federal judges the warrant is yielding relevant and legitimate information to the FBI’s case.)

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