The decade's most triggering comedy
On Friday, Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) four-page memo detailing alleged abuses by the FBI and DOJ in pursuit of a FISA warrant on Trump foreign policy advisor Carter Page was released to the public. A full breakdown of the memo is available by clicking here.
But new questions are now arising about the accuracy of that memo. Here are some of those questions:
1. Does the memo mischaracterize former FBI director James Comey’s comments on the so-called Steele Dossier? Patterico at Red State has a piece detailing the memo’s misstatement of fact on Comey’s testimony. According to the memo, Comey called the dossier “salacious and unverified.” But as Patterico points out, Comey didn’t say that. In fact, when asked if the criminal allegations detailed in the Steele dossier had been confirmed by the FBI, Comey explicitly stated he couldn’t answer the question for classification reasons. He said that certain portions of the dossier were “salacious and unverified.”
2. Does the memo tell the truth about deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe’s testimony? According to the memo, McCabe testified that the Steele dossier was the centerpiece of the FISA warrant on Page — that “no surveillance warrant would have been sought” from the FISA court without it. But Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) disputes this account of McCabe’s testimony, and says that McCabe testified that the “genesis of the investigation” didn’t start with the dossier at all. The transcript of the testimony is available. Let’s see it.
3. Does the memo assume facts not in evidence? The memo alleges that the three re-authorizations of the FISA warrant on Page were based on the dossier. But we don’t know if the re-authorizations were also based on additional material. Furthermore, the memo claims that “senior DOJ and FBI officials” knew about the “political origins” of the Steele dossier, but we don’t know which officials knew what.
4. Does the memo tell the truth about the FBI’s failure to disclose information on Steele’s biases to the FISA court? Schiff has explicitly denied that the FBI didn’t tell the FISA court about Steele’s purported bias against Trump — he states, “The Majority suggests that the FBI failed to alert the court as to Mr. Steele’s potential political motivations or the political motivations of those who hired him, but this is not accurate.”
5. What did Bruce Ohr have to do with the FISA warrant? The memo points out that Department of Justice lawyer Bruce Ohr’s wife worked on the Fusion GPS opposition research project on Trump. But the memo isn’t clear that Ohr actually worked on the Carter Page FISA warrant. That’s a disconnect that needs to be bridged.
6. Was the Trump campaign actually targeted? This is a serious question. The memo itself acknowledges that the Trump-Russia collusion investigation began with George Papadopoulos, who has now pled guilty to lying to the FBI. The warrant on Page came only months after he had left the Trump campaign. So was this a concerted attempt to take down Trump, or a legitimate investigation into particular figures allegedly working with the Russian government?
Some of these questions can be answered by actual documents — for example, releasing the underlying FISA application, or the transcript of McCabe’s testimony. Other questions can be answered through testimony under oath. In the coming weeks, there should be serious calls for both.