President Trump has approved the release, with no redactions, of the classified memo prepared by Rep. Devin Nunes on alleged FISA court abuses. Democrats, along with some Senate Republicans, have expressed disagreement with releasing the memo over grounds of national security. FBI and Justice Department officials also disagreed with the memo’s release. However, despite the opposition, President Trump chose to declassify the memo in full and make it publicly available.

First and foremost, I have made a full copy of the memo available here as a PDF document. There is nothing worse than getting filtered bits and pieces of a source document from various media outlets. Read it for yourself. (Courtesy Axios)

Since this matter is being politicized, I’ll try to include reports on this memo from a variety of sources.

First, a report from Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday approved the release of a classified Republican memo that alleges bias against him at the FBI and Justice Department, in an extraordinary showdown with senior law enforcement officials over the probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Ignoring the urgings of the FBI earlier this week, Trump declassified the memo and sent it to Congress. The Republican president told reporters that the contents of the document tell a disgraceful story and that “a lot of people should be ashamed.”

The memo was commissioned by the Republican chairman of the House intelligence panel, Devin Nunes. It purports to show that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department misled a U.S. court in seeking to extend electronic surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The Reuters story did not go deep into detail over what the memo contained. For deeper content, we’ll need to go to a Fox News story on the memo:

A memo that shows alleged government surveillance abuse has been released and includes testimony from a high-ranking government official who says without the infamous Trump dossier, the FBI and DOJ would not have secured surveillance warrants to spy on at least one member of the Trump team.

It specifically cites the DOJ and FBI’s surveillance of onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, saying the dossier “formed an essential part” of the application to spy on him.

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. Ohr’s wife Nellie began working for Fusion GPS as early as May 2016.

It also claims evidence that Steele has a personal animus for the President Trump.

“Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then Candidate Trump, in September of 2016, when Steele told Ohr, that he Steele ‘was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” the memo reads, according to an excerpt obtained by Fox News.

And here is how CNN covered the release:

House Republicans, with the approval of President Donald Trump, on Friday released a disputed GOP intelligence memo that alleges FBI abuses of its surveillance authority.

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

The memo’s release threatens 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.

The FISA court granted a warrant to monitor former Trump foreign policy adviser 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.

Democrats are now trying to discredit the memo by accusing Devin Nunes of making last-minute “secret” changes before release:

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has accused the committee’s Republican chairman, Devin Nunes, of modifying a secret GOP memo that is thought to accuse the FBI and the Justice Department of improperly surveilling a Trump campaign adviser before the 2016 election.

House Intel Committee Republicans voted on Monday to release the memo, despite Justice Department warnings that such a move would be “extraordinarily reckless” because of questions over its claims’ accuracy. That started a five-day countdown for the White House to approve or deny its release.

Schiff said in a statement on Wednesday night, however, that Nunes made “material changes” to the version the committee sent to the White House. He asserted that committee members were not immediately made aware of the modifications and had no opportunity to compare the original memo to the modified version until Wednesday evening.

The memo immediately became politicized last week as members of Congress were granted access to view it as a classified document. Republicans immediately wanted it released, while Democrats immediately questioned the veracity and content of the memo. As a result, it looks like Democrats are in the process of creating their own memo:

In response to the release of a Republican memo alleging that the FBI abused its surveillance tools, Democrats on Capitol Hill have prepared their own memo.

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, produced the 10-page document as a rebuttal to the GOP memo on alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses that the House panel voted to make public on Monday.

For the Democrat’s memo to actually be released, it would have to undergo the same process that the Republican memo has gone through.

First, the House Intelligence Committee would vote to have the memo released to the public — and if they vote for it, President Donald Trump would have five days to object to its public release. [Emphasis added]

You read right, President Trump could ultimately choose to disallow the release of a Democratic memo which counters the Nunes memo. What transpires over the next week will be fascinating as both sides circle the wagons and prepare for a political mud fight.


Former FBI Director James Comey tweeted his thoughts on the memo:

This is relevant since most of the actions alleged in the memo would have occurred while Comey was the FBI Director in 2015 and 2016.


  1. The “That it” quote says it all. Comey doesn’t care one bit that judges were lied to. Nothing more to say.


    • I was a little shocked at his reaction also. The memo targets things that allegedly occurred while he was in charge at the FBI. If I was his attorney, I’d be advising my client to remain silent right now even if he believes in his own innocence.

      Even if you discount much of the memo, there are things that, at minimum, show very bad practices among several top people there. Beyond that, Comey is making it sound like the FBI/DOJ are above reproach. The truth is that no agency or branch of government is above reproach, that’s why we have checks and balances everywhere. If the FBI is clean, then start explaining things and/or start advancing the investigation by providing contrary evidence. Instead, as is often the case, things are being withheld under the banner of “national security.” That result leaves more questions than answers and breeds distrust at all levels.

      • Very true. The banner of “national security” will always lead to mistrust.

        Also, my perspective of the Bushes sure changed. To think I voted for him.

        At 73 I’m supposed to know better. Well, I wasn’t 73 at the time Bush ran. They say Life is a journey.

  2. David Nunes never even read the original documents he so freely tries to quote as fact. Representative Trey Gowdy was the only member of the Committee to actually examine the original documents. Under an agreement with the DOJ, only one member of the Committee was permitted to view the documents, and Nunes chose Gowdy to do the reading.

    During the Republican primaries, a research firm called Fusion GPS was hired by The Washington Free Beacon, was first hired by a major donor, Senator Marco Rubio, to unearth potentially damaging information about Trump, while he was seeking to win the presidential nomination. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida told Fusion GPS to stop doing research on Mr. Trump in May 2016, as Mr. Trump had clinched the Republican nomination.

    Fusion GPS was then hired by Perkins Cole on behalf of the D.N.C.’s presidential campaign to compile research about Donald Trump, his businesses and associates — including possible connections with Russia. It was at that point that Fusion GPS hired Mr. Steele, who has deep sourcing in Russia, to gather information.

    In British court filings, Mr. Steele’s lawyers said that he and Fusion GPS briefed journalists from a range of media outlets, including The New York Times, on his research starting in September 2016. James B. Comey, former F.B.I. director, received a copy of the memos after Election Day from Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. Mr. McCain had dispatched David J. Kramer, a former top State Department official, to obtain the dossier directly from Mr. Steele. And before Election Day, the F.B.I. reached an agreement to pay Mr. Steele to continue his research, though that plan was scrapped after the dossier was published. During the presidential transition, senior American intelligence officials briefed Candidate Trump and President Barack Obama on the dossier.

    Mueller’s team reportedly interviewed Mr. Steele over the summer.

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