WASHINGTON, DC – The House Intelligence Committee released its controversial memo outlining alleged abuses by the FBI and Justice Department in the Trump-Russia investigation.
The four-page, newly declassified memo said the findings "raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain (Justice Department) and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC),'' calling it "a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process.''
CBN News has confirmed some of the key points include:
The memo shows that after former British spy Christopher Steele was cut off from the FBI, he continued to pass information, as did Fusion GPS, through Justice Department Official Bruce Ohr.
It's important to note, Ohr's wife Nellie began working for Fusion GPS as early as May 2016.
The memo also shows the Steele dossier formed an essential part of the initial investigation and all three renewal FISA applications against Carter Page.
The memo states, "Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid more than $160,000 by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump's ties to Russia."
The memo says Steele "was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations — an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI.''
The memo argues that Steele's contacts with reporters in the fall of 2016 "violated the cardinal rule of source handling — maintaining confidentiality – and demonstrated that Steele had become a less than reliable source for the FBI."
Sources say the memo also states Andrew McCabe confirmed that no FISA warrant would have been sought from the FISA Court without the Steele dossier information, and the political origins of the Steele dossier were known to senior DOJ and FBI officials but excluded from the FISA applications.
The memo also claims the FBI and DOJ used media reporting to lend credibility to the dossier, while the firm behind the dossier, Fusion GPS, briefed major American news outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, New Yorker, Yahoo and Mother Jones.
The memo states, "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."
"I think it's terrible, I think it's a disgrace, what's happening in our country," Mr. Trump told reporters Friday of the surveillance abuses detailed in the memo. "A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves, and much worse than that."
Republican lawmakers have said the FBI used a dossier funded by Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign to get permission from a secret federal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to eavesdrop on Trump campaign officials and transition team communications.
The president asked the House Intelligence Committee to release the memo without redactions.
"The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans - something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago," Trump wrote. "Rank & File are great people!"
The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans - something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank & File are great people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2018
The FBI and Justice Department mounted a months-long effort to keep the information outlined in the memo out of the House Intelligence Committee's hands.
But Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes never wavered in his determination to make the information available to the public. President Trump agreed, and, as required by House rules, gave his approval for release.
The White House has backed the memo's release, calling for "transparency."
Chairman Nunes issued the following statement:
“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. Our intelligence and law enforcement agencies exist to defend the American people, not to be exploited to target one group on behalf of another. 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.”