Officials disclosed source’s political funding in FISA application: report
The Justice Department may have told a court of the political origins of an opposition research dossier that formed part of the application for a warrant to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser.
The Washington Post reported Friday that Justice Department officials made “ample disclosure of relevant, material facts” to the court that a political entity provided financial backing for the research, though they did not name Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign or the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
That the officials disclosed the political nature of the dossier to the surveillance court upends the central allegation in the memo released Friday by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee.
That memo alleges that FBI and Justice Department officials misused their authority to obtain a surveillance order on Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, and presented the dossier as evidence without disclosing that its research had been partially funded by the Clinton campaign and the DNC.
Republicans on the Intelligence Committee had argued that the memo shed light on potential abuses by senior Justice Department and FBI officials and showed that the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election began with politicized research.
That memo also argues that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court that granted the warrant on Page was left in the dark about the origins of the dossier, which contains salacious allegations against President Trump and his associates.
Intelligence Committee Democrats and the FBI raised concerns about the memo’s accuracy before it was released on Friday. They said that it omitted key facts that would have put the information in the proper context.
Democrats have also accused Republicans of using their memo to try to undermine and discredit the special counsel investigation into whether members of Trump’s 2016 campaign conspired with Russia to help sway the election.
Democrats on the committee have compiled their own memo rebutting the GOP document. That memo reportedly includes additional information that Democrats say undercuts the conclusions reached by their Republican colleagues, including that the Justice Department disclosed to the court that the dossier’s funding source was political in nature.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, pushed back against that assertion in an interview on Fox News Friday night, accusing Democrats of lying about whether the judge who granted the surveillance warrant knew of its origins.
“These guys tell so many lies you can’t keep track of them,” Nunes said. “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.”
But officials familiar with the matter told the Post that Republicans’ allegation that the court was not notified of the funding source was unfounded.
They said it was made clear that the dossier had been compiled “at the behest of people with a partisan aim and that it was being done in opposition to Trump,” according to the Post.
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