The Nunes Memo Is Out. Here's What It Says
The following is a summary of what the 4-page memo presented by Republican Devin Nunes to the House Intelligence Committee. The memo has been controversial in that Nunes presented it to be declassified and released to the public. The House voted to release the memo on a partisan basis, where the Republicans voted to release and the Democrats voted to not release. At the time of the vote, the Committee voted not to release a rebuttal memo by Democrats and not to allow the DOJ and FBI to make statements prior to the vote for the release of the memo. The FBI and DOJ both issued statements objecting to the release of the memo and stated that it contained falsehoods and omitted information. The FBI and DOJ also raised concerns regarding disclosure of classified information. The memo was sent to Trump to determine if the memo should be declassified. Trump had 5 days to review that memo and make the determination. He determined on February 1 that the memo would be released. It was released this morning (February 2.) The release of the memo has sparked controversy between Democrats and Republicans as well as between the DOJ, FBI, and the Trump administration.
Of Note: The memo was written and released on a partisan basis with support from Republicans and with heavy opposition from Democrats. The Democrats 10 page counter-memo has not yet been released.
Purpose: To update Members on significant facts related to the Committee’s investigation into the DOJ and FBI and their use of FISA. The memo states the findings “raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the FISC and represent a breakdown of legal processes related to the FISA Process.
Investigation Update: On October 21, 2016, The DOJ and FBI sought and obtained a FISA warrant authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page. Page is a United States Citizen who served as a volunteer for the Trump campaign. The application was approved by the Director or Deputy Director of the FBI, Attorney General (AG), Deputy AG (DAG, or Senate-confirmed Assistant AG for the NSA. The FBI obtained one initial FISA warrant for Carter Page and then three renewals of this warrant. The renewals are required every 90 days for a US citizen and each renewal must renew probably cause. Comey signed three of the applications for the FBI. McCabe signed one. Yates and Rosenstein both signed at least one of the applications. The memo asserts that relevant and material information was omitted from the applications for the FISA warrants.
1. The Steele “dossier” was used in the applications and was an essential part.
- a. The “dossier” was compiled on behalf of the DNC and the Clinton campaign and Steele received over $160,000 from the DNC (Democratic National Committee) and Clinton Campaign to obtain derogatory information on Trump’s ties to Russia.
- b. Steele was a long time FBI source.
- c. The applications do not disclose that the “dossier” was funded by the DNC/Clinton campaign.
- d. The initial warrant says he was working for a named US person but doesn’t name the firm that was representing the DNC.
- e. The FBI authorized separate payments to Steele for the information in the “dossier”
2. The FISA application cited an article by Michael Isikoff from Yahoo News on September 23, 2016 that focuses on a trip to Moscow by Page in July of 2016.
- a. The memo claims that the article was based on information leaked by Steele himself and therefore cannot corroborate the information in the dossier.
- b. The application incorrectly states that Steele did not provide information directly to Yahoo News.
- c. Steele has since admitted that he met with Yahoo News and several other outlets in September of 2016 where the matter was discussed.
- d. Steele was suspended and ultimately terminated as a source by the FBI for unauthorized disclosures to the media of his relationship with the FBI in an article on October 30.
- e. The memo asserts that she should have been terminated in September for this disclosures to Yahoo News prior to the application for the FISA warrant on Page on September 30, but Steele lied to the FBI regarding his disclosures to media in September.
- f. The memo asserts that Steele’s disclosure to the media demonstrated that Steele was not a reliable source for the FBI because he didn’t maintain confidentiality.
3. Steele maintained contact with the DOJ before and after he was terminated as a source via (now former) Associate DAG Bruce Ohr. Shortly after the election, the FBI began interviewing Ohr and documenting his communications with Steele.
- a. In September of 2016, Steele told Ohr that he had feelings against Trump and stated he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being the President.” This showed Steele had a bias recorded by Ohr but this bias is not mentioned in the FISA application.
- b. During the same time, Ohr’s wife was employed by Steele’s company to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump. Ohr later provided his wife’s research to the FBI. This research was from the same company as Steele that was paid by the DNC and Clinton campaign.
- c. The relationship between Ohr, Steele and Fusion GPS (Steele and Ohr’s wife’s company) wasn’t mentioned in the FISA warrant.
4. Assistant Director of counterintelligence for the FBI, Bill Priestap stated that corroboration on the Steele “dossier” was in its infancy when the initial FISA application was submitted. An independent unit later made a reported that the FBI only “minimally” corroborated Steele’s reporting.
- a. In early January 2017, Comey briefed Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier. He later gave testimony in July 2017 that said the “dossier” was “salacious and unverified” at that time.
- b. The FISA warrant relied on the Steele’s past record of credible reporting and ignored his “anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations.”
- c. McCabe testified in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought without the Steele “dossier” information
5. The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding follow Trump campaign advisor, Papadopoulos.
- a. The memo asserts there is no evidence of any corroboration or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos.
- b. The information on Papadopoulos triggered an FBI counterintelligence investigation in July of 2016 by Pete Strzok.
- c. Strzok is the officer who was reassigned due to the discovery of improper text messages with his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page.
- d. Both Strzok and Page demonstrated a personal bias against Donald Trump in their discovered personal text messages.
- e. The text message reveal extensive discussions of the investigation, orchestrating leaks to the media, and include a meeting with Deputy Director McCabe to discuss and “insurance” policy against Trump’s election.
This article contains no opinion or analysis. The purpose of this article is to summarize the contents of the Republican Devin Nunes's memo to the House Intelligence Committee.The full text of the memo in PDF form can be read here: