Before Thanksgiving, House Republicans told President Trump what documents they’d like to see declassified in the Russian investigation.
At the eleventh hour, Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) added an email chain between the FBI and Justice Department to their request. (The Hill)
Sources tell me the targeted documents may provide the most damning evidence to date of potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), evidence that has been kept from the majority of members of Congress for more than two years.
The email exchanges included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division, and they occurred in early to mid-October, before the FBI successfully secured a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The email exchanges show the FBI was aware — before it secured the now-infamous warrant — that there were intelligence community concerns about the reliability of the main evidence used to support it: the Christopher Steele dossier.
The exchanges also indicate FBI officials were aware that Steele, the former MI6 British intelligence operative then working as a confidential human source for the bureau, had contacts with news media reporters before the FISA warrant was secured.
The FBI fired Steele weeks after securing the warrant, ostensibly because of his unauthorized contacts with journalists.
However, the FBI failed to disclose for months that the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton presidential campaign hired Steele to conduct opposition research on Trump and that Steele himself loathed the man.
If then-Director Comey knew of these concerns beforehand and charged ahead anyway, his actions would represent a serious breach of trust the FISA court places in the FBI.
Before requesting FISA warrants, agents are obligated to alert judges to any faulty evidence or biased information.