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Few members of the House of Intelligence Committee have disagreed with President Donald Trump’s claims that the memorandum released by the committee vindicates him in the Russia investigation. The memo, which was written by committee Republicans and was authorized for release by Trump, alleges the Justice Department and FBI of misusing their authority in the early stages of an investigation into involvement of Russia in the 2016 presidential election.
After the release of the memo, on Saturday, Trump tweeted “This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction…” Four House Intelligence Committee Republicans, however, openly disagreed with the President’s assertion.
“I actually don’t think it is has any impact on the Russia probe,” said one of the representatives Trey Gowdy on Sunday in an interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation”, adding that he was integrally involved in the drafting of the memo. He further added that there should be investigation on everything that Russia did, but the justice department and FBI should agree that the process mentioned in the memo was “sloppy”.
The memo, released on Friday, has made a set of allegations of misconduct on the part of FBI and the Justice Department in obtaining a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, to keep a watch on former Trump campaign foreign adviser, Carter Page. It specifically indicates the FBI has kept the FISA uninformed that it has used information from a former British spy, Christopher Steele’s dossier, which alleged ties between the now US President, his associates and Russia.
The memo also says that the FISA court was not informed enough about Steele’s role in a research effort funded by Democrat Hillary Clinton. The memo stated timelines of the Russia investigation that showed Page was under scanner for several months. IBTimes has viewed a copy of the memo released by the Republicans House of Intelligence Committee. The memo showed that the Justice Department and the FBI have obtained FISA warrant on Page on Oct 21, 2016 and have also reauthorized it three times.
Page had been on the US counterintelligence radar since 2013, but his Moscow visit in July 2016 to meet Russian Deputy Prime Minister as an adviser to Trump’s campaign had a major role to play in FBI investigating connections between Russia and Trump’s election campaign. Trump, however, at earlier instances have disagreed of knowing Page or having any connections via him with Russia. “I don’t think I have ever spoken to him, I don’t think I have ever met him. And I think he mentioned himself as a very low level member of a committee for a short period of time,” Trump had said while speaking about Page.
The Justice Department had strongly objected the release of the memo and had stated that making these classified information public would be “extraordinarily reckless”. Trump, however, took to Twitter and said “The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favour of Democrats and against the Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago…” Ahead of the release of the memo, the FBI had released a statement saying the bureau takes its obligations to the surveillance court seriously, and warned that the memo paints a distorted picture of how the surveillance warrant was obtained.
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