DOJ extended surveillance of Trump campaign adviser over Steele dossier findings

Carter Page

The Associated Press

The memo's primary contention is that Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department officials failed to adequately explain to an intelligence court judge in initially seeking a warrant for surveillance of Page that they were relying in part on research by an investigator, Christopher Steele, that had been financed by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Rosenstein approved the continued surveillance of a Trump associate previous year, according to a report in the New York Times on Monday that once again thrust the former U.S. Attorney for Maryland into the spotlight.

The New York Times, citing three people familiar with the document, reports that the memo portrays the Russian Federation investigation as "tainted from the start" because it relies in part on research by former British spy Christopher Steele, who had been financed by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

A trip Page took to Russian Federation in July 2016, while working on Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser, caught the attention of the bureau, and law enforcement began conducting surveillance on him in the fall of 2016, shortly after he left the campaign, reported the NYT.

The Times describes the memo "as a much-disputed document that paints the investigation into Russian election meddling as tainted from the start".

Democrats who have read the document say Republicans have cherry-picked facts to create a misleading and risky narrative.

That memo, accusing Rosenstein of abusing FISA to surveil Page, is still classified, though Republicans and Trump want to declassify and release it, against the strident objections of Trump's own DOJ.

Because Rosenstein extended the surveillance, the memo alleges, it is possible he did so on the basis of unverified information - and tarnished the name of a high-profile Trump associate in the process. The White House has indicated that President Trump will not object to the release of the document, which was put together by House Intel chairman Devin Nunes, South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy and Republican staff on the Intelligence Committee.

Justice Department officials, the memo reportedly says, weren't clear enough when applying for the warrant that their information came, in part, from the Steele dossier. "But there's no no mystery about the fact that he's livid at [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions for recusing himself and livid at Rosenstein for appointing a special counsel".

The Justice Department declined to comment on this report.

Page, a former Moscow-based investment banker who later founded an investment company in NY, had been on the FBI's radar for years.

"To the extent that the House, I think, has advocated that it's publicly released, I think the president is receptive to that", he said.

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