FBI to Trump White House: Please Block The FISA Memo That Could Expose Us For Spying On You

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Posted: Jan 31, 2018 2:20 PM
FBI to Trump White House: Please Block The FISA Memo That Could Expose Us For Spying On You

The war between House Republicans and the DOJ/FBI continues as the bureau released a statement today saying they had “grave concerns”about the House Intelligence Committee releasing a damning FISA memo that alleges grave abuses, citing omissions that could impact its accuracy (via the Hill):

In a rare public statement on Wednesday, the FBI said it has "grave concerns" about a Republican-crafted memo alleging corrosive abuse of United States surveillance powers by the Justice Department that is expected to be released in the coming days.

"With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it," the bureau said.

"As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy."

[…]

Caught on a hot mic on Tuesday night, Trump promised Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) that he would "100 percent" release the memo. The White House has insisted the document will go through a normal multi-agency review process to ensure its release will not jeopardize national security. 

Trump's chief of staff John Kelly on Wednesday indicated the White House plans to release the memo soon.

“It will be released here pretty quick, I think, and then the whole world can see it,” Kelly said during an interview on Fox News Radio. “This president wants everything out so the American people can make up their own minds.”

Some lawmakers said the abuses are so bad they echo actions of the Soviet KGB, with the added warning that changes could come to the FBI as a consequence. They have repeated the notion that they were not allowed to review it prior to the House Intelligence Committee’s vote to make it public earlier this week. Again, the FBI has read the memo; FBI Director Wray reviewed it on Sunday. They have all the documents—and if they were so worried about national security, why were portions leaked to The New York Times a day after Wray looked at it? President Trump wants the memo released. After the House Intelligence Committee vote on January 29, Trump has five days to decide whether to block its release or not

Yesterday, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray made a last-ditch effort to lobby the Trump White House to block the memo’s release. Guy wrote that two senior FBI officials reviewed the memo as well, noting they didn’t see any factual inaccuracies. Maybe that’s why Wray didn’t say much (via WaPo):

Top Justice Department officials made a last-ditch plea Monday to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly about the dangers of publicly releasing a memo alleging abuses by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to people briefed on the meeting.

Shortly before the House Intelligence Committee voted to make the document public, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein warned Kelly that the four-page memo prepared by House Republicans could jeopardize classified information and implored the president to reconsider his support for making it public, those people said. Rosenstein was joined in the meeting at the White House by FBI Director Christopher A. Wray.

Rosenstein, who is supervising special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, said the Department of Justice was not convinced the memo accurately describes its investigative practices. He said making the document public could set a dangerous precedent, according to a person familiar with the discussion.

While Wray also expressed opposition to the memo’s release, Rosenstein did much of the talking, according to a senior U.S. government official.

The four-page memo is seen by some as a document that could offer clarity over whether the FBI used the shoddy Trump dossier compiled by former MI6 operative Christopher Steele, whose was contracted by research firm Fusion GPS—which was given money for this opposition research project by the Hillary campaign. It wasn’t corroborated and on top of that, Steele is said to have given the FBI another dossier compiled by a Clinton political operative, Cody Shearer, which also wasn’t verified. So, did the FBI/DOJ secure FISA warrants on members of the Trump campaign by presenting before the court unverified documents? Like we and everyone else has been saying, the FBI has the documents. They already know the truth, but are keeping it from us—with some saying they’re abusing secrecy powers to avoid embarrassment. One of which was two FBI officials, Agent Peter Strzok and lawyer Lisa page, who worked for the Russia and Hillary email probes, sent tens of thousands of texts, a great deal of them anti-Trump texts, where it was suggested that they felt the bureau was going too hard on Hillary Clinton. Oh, and these two were having an extramarital affair. Not the best moment for the FBI to say the least. This memo will be released—and it seems the FBI is a) not too pleased that more dirty laundry could be aired; and b) it could expose them for spying on the Trump team. 

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This is quite the explosive allegation that has yet to be dispoven: the DOJ, under the Obama administration at the time, allegedly used shoddy documents to secure warrants to spy on the campaign of the opposing party running against Hillary Clinton. Yeah, I wouldn’t want that made public either. The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel and The Federalist’s Sean Davis had modest proposals. One is make the documents public and two is how about not forcing the House to take these actions when the preeminent domestic intelligence agency is accused of spying on a presidential campaign. That seems fair.