The long-awaited memo, written by staffers for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), portends to show abuses by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). What it fails to show, and in fact directly contradicts, is the notion that the FBI based the Russia investigation off a dossier compiled by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele.
In the memo itself, House Republicans acknowledge information related to onetime Donald Trump campaign advisor George Papadapolous “triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016.” This admission comes after extensive efforts to link the Steele dossier to FISA applications that targeted former Trump adviser Carter Page.
The Nunes memo argues the Steele dossier “formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application,” and pointed to the FBI’s failure to cite the origin of the Steele dossier (which included funding by a Republican during the 2016 primaries) as one of the key points. It also accuses the FBI of using media reports sourced by Steele in order to obtain FISA renewals on Page.
The memo further links the Page FISA warrant to the dossier by noting that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe “testified before the committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.”
In the very next point, the memo acknowledges that it was information on Papadapolous—not Page—that prompted the FBI’s investigation.
“The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign adviser George Papadapolous, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadapoulous,” the memo reads. “The Papadapolous information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Peter Strzok.” The memo goes on to repeat GOP talking points accusing Strzok of “clear bias” against Trump.