US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) [official website], with approval from President Trump, declassified and released a memo [text, PDF] on Friday claiming that the FBI overstepped their surveillance authority while investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
The release of the memo stems from a dossier compiled by a longtime FBI source who allegedly was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Hilary Clinton campaign. This dossier was then allegedly used by the DOJ and FBI in seeking and receiving a probable cause order authorizing electronic surveillance on an advisor to the Trump campaign under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) [statute].
The memo asserts that this FISA application extensively cited a news article focusing on the Trump advisor Carter Page’s trip to Moscow, but its information was unable to be corroborated because it was leaked by the same FBI source who compiled the dossier. Additionally, the memo claims that the source was motivated by a desire to ensure that Trump would not be elected president.
Describing his decision to release the memo, Nunes stated [press release]
The Committee has discovered serious violations of the public trust, and the American people have a right to know when officials in crucial institutions are abusing their authority for political purposes… It is my hope that the Committee’s actions will shine a light on this alarming series of events so we can make reforms that allow the American people to have full faith and confidence in their governing institutions.
Intelligence Committee Democrats have issued a response memo [text] claiming [press release] “Nunes’ decision, supported by House Speaker Ryan and Republican Members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, to publicly release misleading allegations against the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation is a shameful effort to discredit these institutions, undermine the Special Counsel’s ongoing investigation, and undercut congressional probes.”