A now-declassified Republican memo alleged that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was duped into approving the wiretap request by a politicized FBI and Justice Department.
.. The Justice Department made “ample disclosure of relevant, material facts” to the court that revealed “the research was being paid for by a political entity,” said one official
.. “No thinking person who read any of these applications would come to any other conclusion but that” the work was being undertaken “at the behest of people with a partisan aim and that it was being done in opposition to Trump,” the official said.
.. “We didn’t put in every fact, but we put in enough facts to allow the court to judge bias and motive and credibility of the sourcing,” said Matthew G. Olsen, former deputy assistant attorney general for national security who oversaw the Justice Department’s FISA program from 2006 to 2009.
.. Robert S. Litt, former general counsel to the director of national intelligence and a surveillance law expert, said, “I don’t find any of the allegations hugely problematic, in part because of the lack of context.”
.. Nunes said that the Page wiretap was “outrageous” and that it was based on “salacious information paid for by a political campaign.”
.. At issue was an application for surveillance on Page obtained in October 2016 under the Obama administration and renewed three times
.. To secure the warrant, the government had to persuade a federal judge there was probable cause to believe that Page was acting as an “agent of a foreign power” and engaged in criminal conduct.
.. “Only very select parts of what Christopher Steele reported related to Carter Page were included within the application, and some of those things were already subject to corroboration.”
.. A potentially damaging allegation is that the FISA application, which was based in part on information from Steele about Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow, also cited a September 2016 Yahoo News article by reporter Michael Isikoff. “This article,” the memo states, “is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News.”
In other words, the memo alleges the Yahoo News article amounted to circular reasoning.
.. Schiff said the article was not included in the application to corroborate Steele.
.. Kris said it’s more likely that the Justice Department cited the Yahoo News article “to show that the investigation had become public and that the target [Page] therefore might take steps to destroy evidence or cover his tracks.”