The House Intelligence Committee has released its controversial memo outlining alleged abuses of secret surveillance by the FBI and Justice Department in the Trump-Russia investigation. Here are some key points:
* The Steele dossier formed an essential part of the initial and all three renewal FISA applications against Carter Page.
* Andrew McCabe confirmed that no FISA warrant would have been sought from the FISA Court without the Steele dossier information.
* The four FISA surveillance applications were signed by, in various combinations, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates, Dana Boente, and Rod Rosenstein.
* The FBI authorized payments to Steele for work on the dossier. The FBI terminated its agreement with Steele in late October when it learned, by reading an article in Mother Jones, that Steele was talking to the media.
* The political origins of the Steele dossier were known to senior DOJ and FBI officials, but excluded from the FISA applications.
* DOJ official Bruce Ohr met with Steele beginning in the summer of 2016 and relayed to DOJ information about Steele's bias. Steele told Ohr that he, Steele, was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected president and was passionate about him not becoming president.
The FBI and Justice Department mounted a monthslong effort to keep the information outlined in the memo out of the House Intelligence Committee's hands. Only the threat of contempt charges and other forms of pressure forced the FBI and Justice to give up the material.
Once Intelligence Committee leaders and staff compiled some of that information into the memo, the FBI and Justice Department, supported by Capitol Hill Democrats, mounted a ferocious campaign of opposition, saying the release of the memo would endanger national security and the rule of law.
But Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., never wavered in his determination to make the information available to the public. President Trump agreed, and, as required by House rules, gave his approval for release.
Finally, the memo released today does not represent the sum total of what House investigators have learned in their review of the FBI and Justice Department Trump-Russia investigation. That means the fight over the memo could be replayed in the future when the Intelligence Committee decides to release more information.