WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman David Rouzer released the statement below following the declassification of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) memo:
“Today’s declassification of the memo produced by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is a major step towards providing transparency of the facts regarding the Steele dossier, which include its use by the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) in their application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for authorization to surveil an individual associated with the Trump campaign. The memo is based on documentation provided by the FBI and DOJ and the Committee’s analysis of all of the evidence made available to them. It clearly shows that relevant and critical information about the dossier, including that it was paid for by the Democrat National Committee and the Clinton campaign, was not shared with the Court — information that could have easily led the Court to deny surveillance. It is my hope that the release of this memo will advance the efforts of Congress to ensure that similar abuses never occur again in any administration — Republican or Democrat.”
Key Revelations from Declassified Memo
The Steele dossier formed an essential part of a FISA application targeting Carter Page. Former FBI Deputy Director McCabe confirmed that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) without the Steele dossier information.
FBI and DOJ obtained from the FISC an initial warrant, and three FISA renewals.Then-FBI Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one.
Then-Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ.
Steele was paid over $160,000 by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary for America (Clinton campaign) for his dossier. Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.
While the FISA application relied on Steele’s past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations.Before and after Steele was terminated as a source, he maintained contact with DOJ via then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr. In September 2016, Steele told Ohr, he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” Ohr later relayed this evidence of Steele’s bias to FBI, where it was recorded in official files, but not included in any of the FISA applications.
None of the FISA applications mention that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the dossier information.
According to the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, Assistant Director Bill Priestap, corroboration of the Steele dossier was in its “infancy” at the time of the initial Page FISA application. In early January 2017, Director Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, a document he later described as “salacious and unverified.”
The Page FISA application incorrectly assesses that Steele did not directly provide information to Yahoo News. Steele has admitted in British court filings that he met with Yahoo News—and several other outlets—in September 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS.
Perkins Coie, the law firm that hired Fusion GPS on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign, was aware of Steele’s initial media contacts, and hosted at least one meeting in Washington D.C. in 2016 with Steele and Fusion GPS.
Ohr’s wife was employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump. Ohr later provided the FBI with all of his wife’s opposition research, paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS.
The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos.