A controversial intelligence memo criticizing the Federal Bureau of Investigation and top American justice officials over their handling of the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is out.
Devin Nunes, chairman of the House of Representatives’ intelligence committee, prepared and published the four-page memo.
It attacks the FBI for using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to monitor Carter Page, a former campaign adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump who is suspected of having ties to Russia, given some of the information used to obtain the surveillance warrant came from an unverified dossier prepared by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele.
The memo suggests the dossier formed an “essential” part of the decision by the court to issue a surveillance warrant but that it should not have because Nunes suggests Steele was biased against Trump given he had received payment from the Democratic National Committee previously.
“While the FISA application relied on Steele’s past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations,” the memo states.
The move came after Trump declassified it earlier today and despite warnings from intelligence and justice officials not to do so given it contains sensitive intelligence.
Shortly before its release, Trump said the newly declassified GOP memo alleging FBI abuses shows that “a lot of people should be ashamed of themselves.”
Trump told reporters Friday that “the memo was sent to Congress, it was declassified. Congress will do whatever they’re going to do. But I think it’s a disgrace what’s happened in our country.”
Trump’s decision to declassify the memo cleared the way for the public release of the document. The memo was prepared by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee based on classified information and alleges the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.
The FBI has said it has “grave concerns” about the document’s accuracy and shortly after its release, the association representing FBI agents issued several tweets saying all agents will remain focused on their work to protect America from threats and that they would not be distracted by partisanship.
The FBI, Justice Department and Democrats have all furiously lobbied Trump to stop the release. They say it could harm national security and mislead the public.
Republicans on the committee have said they believe they’ve uncovered serious misconduct that needs to be made public.
With files from the Associated Press.