The Nunes memo’s claim that the FBI and Department of
Justice misled a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when
seeking to wiretap Trump campaign adviser Carter Page may have
Officials familiar with the matter told The Washington
Post and The New York Times that the DOJ made it clear to the
court that information contained in a dossier they submitted as
part of a FISA application to surveil Page was politically
The revelation undercuts the most important claim in
Nunes’ memo as he seeks to characterize the FBI and the DOJ as
corrupt and biased against President Donald Trump.
The most important claim in a controversial memo released Friday
by the House Intelligence Committee — that the FBI and the
Department of Justice misled a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Court (FISC) when they submitted an application to surveil a key
Trump campaign adviser — may have just been quashed.
The memo was released as part of an investigation House
Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes has been conducting
over the past year into what he characterizes as bias and
corruption within the FBI and DOJ.
In particular, the Nunes memo, which was declassified Friday by
President Donald Trump, alleges that top DOJ officials concealed
the political motives behind a dossier they submitted as part of
a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application to
wiretap Carter Page, who worked as an early foreign-policy
adviser on Trump’s campaign.
The claim fueled accusations from Trump and his loyalists that
the Russia investigation is not an independent inquiry into
potential collusion between the campaign and Russia, but a
Democrat-led “witch hunt” meant to undermine his presidency.
But The Washington Post reported late Friday night
that the court that approved the warrant was aware at the time
that the dossier’s production was politically motivated.
One official with knowledge of the matter told The Post that the
DOJ made “ample disclosure of relevant, material facts” to the
FISC which revealed “the research was being paid for by a
“No thinking person who read any of these applications would come
to any other conclusion” other than that the dossier’s production
was carried out “at the behest of people with a partisan aim and
that it was being done in opposition to Trump,” they added.
The revelation appears to corroborate claims made in a 10-page
rebuttal memo crafted by Democrats on the House Intelligence
Committee. Sources told The New York Times on
Friday that the Democratic memo also says the FBI informed the
FISC that the dossier was politically motivated, but did not
reveal which political entity specifically financed it.
The dossier, which was compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher
Steele and alleges a number of improper ties between Trump and
Russia, has become a central point of controversy as the Russia
investigation picks up steam.
It was originally funded by a group of Republicans who opposed
Trump during the Republican primaries. After Trump became the
party’s nominee, Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic
National Committee hired the Perkins Coie law firm, which in turn
retained the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS to fund the
Though Trump and his allies have slammed the document as “fake”
and “phony” — and while it does contain some dubious allegations
that have not been corroborated — both the FBI and the Senate
Intelligence Committee are using it as a “roadmap” in their
investigations and have verified a number of its claims.
Nunes on Friday said he had “an obligation to the American
people” to release the memo, which he said showed “FISA abuse” by
the DOJ and the FBI. He added that the Page wiretap was
“outrageous” and based on “salacious information paid for by a
But the dossier was not the sole factor that prompted the FBI to
launch its investigation or submit a FISA application targeting
Page. To be sure, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Page
was on the radar of US counterintelligence officials since at
least 2013 — more than three years before he joined the Trump