Nunes accuses Dems of lying about role of dossier in surveillance warrant

Nunes accuses Dems of lying about role of dossier in surveillance warrant

Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesNunes: Russia probe documents should be released before election Gowdy: House Intel panel should release all transcripts from Russia probe House Republicans ask Trump to declassify Carter Page surveillance docs MORE (R-Calif.) on Friday accused Democrats of lying in claiming that a court was made aware of the partisan origins of an opposition research dossier used in part to obtain a warrant to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser.

Nunes's comments came hours after Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, which he chairs, released a memo alleging that the FBI and Department of Justice misused their authority to obtain a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.

In an interview on Fox News Friday night, Nunes insisted that the dossier, which alleges ties between Trump campaign associates and Moscow, was presented as a significant piece of evidence in the FBI's application for a surveillance warrant.

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The California Republican said that the dossier was presented to the surveillance court as absolute fact, claiming that the warrant on Page would never have been granted without it.

"If the court did know that, I think the judge would have to be considered very suspect, but I don’t think that happened at all," Nunes said.

His comments are at odds with those of House Intelligence Committee Democrats, who say that the FBI notified the court in its warrant application that the dossier was funded by politically motivated sources.

The dossier, which was commissioned by the private research firm Fusion GPS and compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, was paid for in part by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump to declassify controversial text messages, documents related to Russia probe Hypocrisy in Kavanaugh case enough to set off alarms in DC Clinton: Hard to ignore 'racial subtext of virtually everything Trump says' MORE's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. 

The GOP memo released Friday sparked a political firestorm, with Democrats on the Intelligence Committee arguing that Republicans intentionally left out key information in order to undermine and discredit the federal investigation into Russia's election meddling.

The FBI also voiced concerns ahead of the memo's release Friday, saying that omissions of certain facts threw the document's accuracy into question.

But Nunes cast the FBI's efforts to obtain a warrant on Page as highly inappropriate. He said that he does not believe Page should have been the target of government surveillance, and that the fact that the FBI used the dossier as part of its application for the warrant amounted to an abuse of power and a violation of Page's rights.

"I don’t believe that somebody like Mr. Page should be a target of the FBI, especially using salacious information paid for by a campaign," Nunes said.

Democrats on the Intelligence Committee are pushing to release their own memo rebutting the GOP document.