House memo states disputed dossier was key to FBI’s FISA warrant to surveil members of Team Trump

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by Alex Pappas, Catherine Herridge, Brooke Singman, Pamela K. Browne, Fox News:

A memo that shows alleged government surveillance abuse has been released to the public and includes testimony from a high-ranking government official who says the FBI and DOJ would not have sought surveillance warrants to spy on at least one member of the Trump team without the infamous Trump dossier.

The House Intelligence Committee released the memo on Friday afternoon about alleged abuses involving FISA, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, during the 2016 election.

The dossier, authored by former British spy Christopher Steele and  commissioned by Fusion GPS, was paid by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign through law firm Perkins Coie in an effort to conduct opposition research. 

The memo says the committee’s findings “raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions” with the FISA court and “represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process.”

The memo, which has been at the center of an intense power struggle between congressional Republicans, specifically cites the DOJ and FBI’s surveillance of onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, saying the dossier “formed an essential part” of the application to spy on him.

The memo pointed out that in December 2017, then FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe testified that “no surveillance warrant would have been sought” from the FISA court “without the Steele dossier information.”

READ THE FISA MEMO

The memo, though, shows that Steele was eventually cut off from the FBI for being chatty with the media. It says he was terminated in October 2016 as an FBI source “for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations—an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI.” 

“Steele ‘was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president'”

– FISA memo

But even after his termination, Steele remained in close contact with Justice Department official—then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr. At the time, Ohr “worked closely” with Yates and later Rosenstein. 

Ohr’s wife Nellie began working for Fusion GPS, the firm behind the dossier, as early as May 2016.

The memo said that while the FISA application “relied” on Steele’s “past record of credible reporting” on other “unrelated matters,” the FISA application process “ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations.

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