Comey On FISA Memo: ‘That’s It?’

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James Comey, the former FBI director who has been a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, took to social media on Friday moments after the White House released a memo that purports to show Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses.

“That’s it?” Comey tweeted. “Dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the House intel committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community, damaged relationship with FISA court, and inexplicably exposed classified investigation of an American citizen. For what? DOJ & FBI must keep doing their jobs.”

But Comey has yet to dispute that the now-unclassified memo — prepared by U.S. Representative Devin Nunes, a California Republican who leads the House Intelligence Committee — includes information pointing to a flimsy dossier authored by a former British intelligence officer as being the document crucial to securing a FISA warrant to conduct electronic surveillance of Trump campaign member Carter Page. 

Nunes’s memo claims the information collected by Christopher Steele was relied on by both the Justice Department and the FBI, despite the fact that Steele’s work was being funded by a law firm connected to the Democratic National Committee and the presidential campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton

Steele is quoted in the memo as saying he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected,” bias which was never disclosed during the electronic surveillance applications authorized under Comey’s FBI and then-President Barack Obama’s Justice Department.

Trump fired Comey last May. 

The memo claims top FBI and Justice Department officials successfully obtained FISA surveillance warrants weeks before the presidential election to monitor Page and other members of Trump’s team. The memo implicates Comey, Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe (who resigned Monday), then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, then-Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as FISA application signees. 

The memo does not explore why the FBI and Justice Department apparently relied on the work of Steele, who was essentially conducting an opposition-research dive into Trump’s team via unverified Kremlin-based sources in Russia, despite having at the bureau’s disposal more than 30,000 counterintelligence professionals.

The memo alleges that during the FISA warrant process, Comey and others did not disclose thatSteele was working for the opposition research giant Fusion GPS, which in turn had been hired by the international law firm Perkins Coie. The law firm itself is closely connected to the Democratic National Committee, which teamed up with Clinton’s campaign to direct the firm to work with Fusion GPS. Campaign finance reports show that the Obama For America campaign funneled nearly $1 million to Perkins Coie, which then turned around and financially backed Fusion GPS in its effort to dig up opposition research on Trump. 

Meanwhile, McCabe — the former FBI deputy director who abruptly left the bureau earlier this week — is alleged in the memo to have provided sworn statements to the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017 indicating that if not for the information contained in the since-discredited Steele dossier, intelligence officials would not have pushed for a surveillance warrant. 

The behind-closed-doors testimony provided by McCabe and alluded to in Nunes’s memo does not include direct quotations, however.

There are also bits of information mentioned in the memo that point to the launching of an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia ahead of the information obtained via Steele’s dossier being used to secure a surveillance warrant. The FISA application for Page apparently cited information regarding George Papadopoulos, a Trump foreign policy campaign member who was arrested last summer and later pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI.

The memo’s release on Friday has also triggered howls of concern from prominent Democrats. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the release of the memo “appalling” and took aim at the president.

“He has abdicated his responsibilities as commander in chief to protect the American people by protecting our intelligence sources and the rest,” the San Francisco Democrat said.

She also said a decision by Trump to fire either Rosenstein or special counsel Robert Mueller, who is currently leading the investigation into whether there was campaign collusion between Trump’s team and the Kremlin, would mark a “constitutional crisis.”

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from Mueller’s investigation last year, offered a cryptic response Friday when he said “no department is perfect.”

Trump on Friday accused the FBI and the Justice Department of injecting politics into “the sacred investigation process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans.”

In his tweet, he described the situation as “something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago.”

Read the memo:

2018-02-02 Nunes_Memo by Evan on Scribd