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Tags: Nunes Memo | Trump Administration | nadler | memo | nunes | gop

NBC: Top House Democrat Slams GOP FISA Memo as 'Deliberately Misleading'

NBC: Top House Democrat Slams GOP FISA Memo as 'Deliberately Misleading'
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York (Getty Images)

By    |   Saturday, 03 February 2018 05:59 PM

Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler on Saturday challenged the core finding in the Republican memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI and Justice Department. Nadler called the document's accusations as "deliberately misleading and deeply wrong on the law."

"The government made its application to the [FISA] court in good faith" to obtain a warrant to monitor former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in October 2016, said Nadler, the New Yorker and ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

Nadler, who was first elected to the House in 1991, gave a copy of his six-page analysis of the Republican document to NBC News on Saturday as he made it available to party members.

"Carter Page was, more likely than not, an agent of a foreign power," Nadler said. "The Department of Justice thought so. A federal judge agreed.

"The consensus, supported by the facts, forms the basis of the warrant issued," he said.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes of California, released its memo Friday after President Donald Trump's approval.

It alleged that the warrant obtained by the FBI from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court on Page was based on an unsubstantiated dossier of negative information on the Republican presidential candidate.

The dossier was prepared by former British agent Christopher Steele and was paid, in part, by the campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The Clinton data was never disclosed in the application for the FISA warrant, according to the GOP memo.

Trump said on Twitter Saturday that the Nunes document "totally vindicates" him in the Moscow probe.

Intelligence Committee Democrats have also prepared a response to the Nunes memo, but it contains classified information and would require Trump's approval before releasing or an otherwise complicated legislative process that requires GOP support.

According to NBC News, Nadler's rebuttal centers on four points addressing the legal foundation of the Republican memo:

  • That the Nunes memo failed to demonstrate that the FBI and Justice Department lacked sufficient evidence beyond the Steele dossier to obtain the Page warrant from the FISA court.
  • That Steele’s expertise on Russia and organized crime would have outweighed any FISA court concerns about his work being paid for by Democrats or any other partisan group — and that Steele might not have known the source of the funding.
  • That the Republican document "provides no credible basis whatsoever" for President Trump firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supervises the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
  • That the Nunes memo shows that Republicans "are now part and parcel to an organized effort to obstruct" Mueller’s inquiry.

Further, Nadler wrote that a "well-established body of law" indicated that a FISA warrant could be voided only if the government "included false information or excluded true information that was or would have been critical to the court’s determination of probable cause."

"The Nunes memo alleges nothing that would even come close to meeting this standard," Nadler said.

On the funding issue, Nadler referenced Intelligence Committee testimony by Glenn Simpson, co-founder of the Fusion GPS opposition research firm that hired Steele for the dossier.

Simpson said that he did not believe Steele "knew the identity of the client" that had hired Fusion when Steele first approached the FBI with his findings, Nadler wrote.

"Nothing about the source of Steele's funding or his later opinions about Donald Trump speak to the credibility of his work, or its inclusion in the FISA application," the congressman concluded.

"The Nunes memo gives us no reason to doubt the court's determination of probable cause to believe that Carter Page was an agent of the Russian government — particularly given Page's later admissions to the press about his interactions with Russian officials," he added.

Regarding whether President Trump might use the Nunes memo to fire Rosenstein, Nadler contended that the GOP memo showed that the FISA process was far along before he became deputy attorney general last April.

Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel the following month after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who began his probe on Russian meddling in the presidential election in July 2016.

"The Deputy Attorney General could not have signed an application to renew surveillance on Carter Page if the government was unable to show that it had already gathered valuable evidence under existing orders and expected that collection to continue," Nadler argued.

"Under these circumstances, any decision not to approve the renewal would have appeared to have been politically motivated."

Overall, the Nunes memo shows only that Republican efforts to protect Trump from Mueller's probe has a critical turn, Nadler said.

"Until now, we could only really accuse House Republicans of ignoring the President’s open attempts to block the Russia investigation," he contended, according to NBC.

"But with the release of the Nunes memo … we can only conclude that House Republicans are complicit in the effort to help the president avoid accountability for his actions and the actions of his campaign."

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"Carter Page was, more likely than not, an agent of a foreign power," Rep. Jerrold Nadler said. "The Department of Justice thought so. A federal judge agreed."
nadler, memo, nunes, gop
Saturday, 03 February 2018 05:59 PM
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