Much has been made of the memo drafted by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), who has gone out off his way—on multiple occasions—to provide Donald Trump with cover from the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
While House Republicans (led by Nunes), have demanded the “release” of the memo to the public, they’ve simultaneously stonewalled the FBI, Department of Justice and Senate Intelligence Committee from obtaining a copy of the document. Still, as recently as Wednesday, Trump-backing GOP members have gone on TV to hype the memo and suggest impropriety among the FBI’s ranks.
As the New York Times reported Wednesday, the memo in question “centers” on a FISA warrant on Carter Page, submitted by investigators in the fall of 2016. This was one of two FISA warrants that have reportedly been issued against Page—he first became the subject of U.S. intelligence officials in 2014 due to his ties with Russia.
As the Times reports, the Nunes memo alleges misconduct on the part of the FBI because that FISA application relied on intelligence from former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele, who compiled the infamous dossier detailing ties between Trump and the Russian government.
People familiar with the memo told the Times that Nunes neglected to point out the FISA application “drew on other intelligence that the Republican memo misleadingly omits—but revealing that other information to rebut the memo would risk blowing other sources and methods of intelligence-gathering about Russia.”
Page has surfaced incrementally in public reporting on the Russia investigation. Of specific interest to investigators is a 2016 trip Page made to Moscow, during which he met with Russian government officials. Page later testified before the House Intelligence Committee, telling members he informed top Trump campaign officials about his travel plans during that campaign.
Throughout his testimony before the House intel panel, Page spent seven hours pleading the Fifth—while simultaneously insisting he’d done nothing wrong. He later participated in a series of perplexing interviews with hosts including MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and CNN’s Jake Tapper, and later emerged in a bright red bucket hat to deliver documents he’d been withholding from Congress.
Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd blasted committee chairman Nunes for declining to share the information with the Justice Department, insisting the DOJ is “unaware of any wrongdoing relating to the FISA process.”
Jack Lander, a spokesman for Nunes, told the Times, “it’s no surprise these agencies don’t want the abuses we’ve found to be made public.”