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President Trump authorizes release of controversial memo amid objections by FBI, Justice Department

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has authorized the release of a controversial Republican memo alleging intelligence abuses.

The disputed GOP-Rep. Devin Nunes intelligence memo alleges that then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the House Intelligence Committee that no surveillance warrant would have been sought for a Donald Trump campaign aide without the Steele dossier.

The dossier alleges that Carter Page met senior Russian officials as an emissary of the Trump campaign and discussed quid-pro-quo deals relating to sanctions, business opportunities and Russia’s interference in the election. After Page took a trip to Russia in July 2016, the FBI grew concerned that he had been compromised by Russian operatives, US officials briefed on the matter told CNN.

Page says he never cut any political deals with the Kremlin and says there was nothing illegal in his interactions with Russian officials.

The FISA court granted a warrant to monitor Carter Page and approved three subsequent renewals, according to the memo.

Even if the dossier was used as part of the application, a FISA renewal indicates that a judge was convinced that the surveillance was yielding information about the target acting as an agent of a foreign power that merited continued monitoring.

The memo alleges that Steele had an anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations that were not included in the FISA application. Senior DOJ officials knew about Steele’s anti-Trump bias, according to the memo.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said the document has been transmitted to the minority and majority members in the House Intelligence Committee. The document was also sent to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office, Shah said.

The White House requested no redactions, Shah said.

Speaking in the Oval Office, Trump implied the memo revealed political bias at the FBI. He said he believed the purported bias was a “disgrace” and said certain people should be “ashamed of themselves.”

The extraordinary decision to release the classified four-page memo with a never-before-used House Intelligence Committee rule would escalate the partisan fight over the investigations into Russian election meddling and possible collusion. This will likely have major repercussions for the relationship between the Justice Department and Capitol Hill.

The memo’s release would also threaten to further fracture the frayed relationship between the President and his Justice Department and intelligence community, both of which opposed the release of the document, which is based on classified intelligence. The FBI issued a rare public warning on Wednesday that the memo omits key information that could impact its veracity.

In a statement earlier this week, Nunes said, “It’s clear that top officials used unverified information in a court document to fuel a counter-intelligence investigation during an American political campaign.”

 

Democrats have dismissed the memo as a “profoundly misleading” Republican document that’s intended to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation by targeting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who stepped down earlier this week.

The release comes despite a lobbying effort from senior officials at the FBI and Justice Department , who argued that the memo contained inaccuracies.