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GOP releases memo alleging FBI, DOJ abused power in Russia probe

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The FBI headquarters is seen on February 2, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

The US Congress has released a highly contentious memo alleging that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) had abused power in investigations of Donald Trump's election campaign.

The memo from the GOP and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes accuses the two organizations of spying on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.

It criticizes information law enforcement officials used in their application for a warrant to wiretap Page, naming the senior FBI and DOJ officials who approved the warrant.

In a statement, Page, who served as a foreign policy adviser, said, "The brave and assiduous oversight by Congressional leaders in discovering this unprecedented abuse of process represents a giant, historic leap in the repair of America's democracy."

Carter Page walks away after speaking to the media after testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

The FBI and House Democrats have both said the memo, which does not provide the full scope of evidence for what it claims, is misleading because it contains both omissions and inaccuracies.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee's top Democrat, said that the Republican document "characterizes highly sensitive classified information" and that "the selective release and politicization of classified information sets a terrible precedent and will do long-term damage to the intelligence community and our law enforcement agencies."

The memo also highlights investigators’ inclusion in the FISA warrant application of material from a former British spy, Christopher Steele, who was researching possible ties between Russia’s alleged election interference and Trump associates.

However, the application did not elaborate on whether he was financed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and lawyers for the campaign of Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic rival.

It is unclear to what extent the FISA application hinges on the material Steele provided, though the memo noted that in December 2017, Andrew G. McCabe, then the deputy director of the FBI, told the House Intelligence Committee that no surveillance would have been sought without Steele’s information.

“Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials,” according to the memo.

The memo, which had been classified since it deals with warrants obtained from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, was sent to Nunes for immediate release on Friday after Trump had authorized its disclosure.

Speaking on Friday, the president said, "I think it's a disgrace," noting a "lot of people should be ashamed of themselves."

US intelligence agencies claim Russia-linked hackers provided WikiLeaks with damaging information -- in the form of thousands of hacked emails -- about Clinton to skew the 2016 presidential election in favor of Trump.

Trump has repeatedly denied allegations that his campaign colluded with Russians and has condemned the investigations. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also denied the allegations.


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