A controversial memo written by House Intelligence Committee Republicans reportedly shows Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein approved an application to extend surveillance of Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser on the Trump campaign, early last year as part of the Trump administration.
According to the New York Times, the approval shows that the Department of Justice under President Trump “saw reason to believe” that Page was “acting as a foreign Russian agent.”
“But the reference to Mr. Rosenstein’s actions in the memo — a much-disputed document that paints the investigation into Russian election meddling as tainted from the start — indicates that Republicans may be moving to seize on his role as they seek to undermine the inquiry,” the Times report said.
The memo also allegedly shows that the DOJ and FBI “failed to adequately explain” to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that they initially wanted a warrant to conduct surveillance on Page because, in part, of the information within the Trump dossier.
The dossier was put together by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was hired by opposition research firm Fusion GPS that had been paid by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The committee is slated to vote on the release of the controversial memo, put together by Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., as early as this week, and that could come Monday night during a 5 p.m. regularly scheduled business meeting.
Meanwhile, Democrats on the committee are poised to release their own memo in response to the GOP-led one and could vote on that release as early as Monday as well.
Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Wednesday that the Democrats’ memo will “[expose] the misleading character of the Republicans’ document.”
“With this latest gambit, however, the majority seeks to selectively and misleadingly characterize classified information in an effort to protect the president at any cost,” Schiff said in a statement. “Regrettably, it has been necessary for Committee Democrats to draft our own memorandum, setting out the relevant facts and exposing the misleading character of the Republicans’ document so that members of the House are not left with an erroneous impression of the dedicated professionals at the FBI and DOJ.”
Schiff said he will move to make the Democrat-compiled memorandum available to the House in the classified House spaces.
Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department have been allowed to see the Nunes memo, and only select lawmakers have been granted permission by Nunes to view it in the House’s safe space.
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment, and a spokesman for Nunes did not reply to requests for comment to the Times.