(CNSNews.com) – When asked Friday whether he has confidence in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein following the release of the Republicans’ House Intelligence Committee memo on the FBI’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant application to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, President Donald Trump said, “You figure that one out.”
During an Oval Office meeting with North Korean defectors, a reporter asked Trump, “Does it make you more likely to fire Rosenstein? Do you still have confidence in him after reading the memo?”
“You figure that one out,” Trump responded.
When asked what he thought about the memo, Trump said, “I think the memo — I think it’s terrible. You want to know the truth? I think it’s a disgrace. What’s going on in this country, I think it’s a disgrace. The memo was sent to Congress. It was declassified. Congress will do whatever they’re going to do, but I think it’s a disgrace what’s happening in our country.
“And when you look at that, and you see that, and so many other things, what’s going on — a lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that,” he said. “So I sent it over to Congress, and they will do what they’re going to do. Whatever they do is fine. It was declassified, and let’s see what happens, but a lot of people should be ashamed.”
According to the memo, which was drafted by the staff of Rep. Devin Nunes (R- Calif.), “The FBI and DOJ obtained on initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC.”
The memo pointed out that a FISA order on a U.S. citizen “must be renewed every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause.”
“Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Then-DAG Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ,” the memo stated.
As CNSNews.com previously reported, the FBI announced Monday that Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who was expected to retire in a few weeks, instead will leave the bureau immediately at the request of FBI Director Christopher Wray.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement Friday, saying the memo that Trump declassified “raises serious concerns about the integrity of decisions made at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI to use the Government’s most intrusive surveillance tools against American citizens.”
“This decision was made with input from the President’s national security team—including law enforcement officials and members of the intelligence community, for whom the President has great respect. He is especially grateful to the hardworking rank-and-file public servants who work every day to keep America safe and uphold our laws while protecting the constitutional rights of all Americans,” she said.
“Minority members of the Committee have reportedly drafted a separate memorandum. The Administration stands ready to work with Congress to accommodate oversight requests consistent with applicable standards, including the need to protect intelligence sources and methods,” Sanders added.
The memo further stated, “The ‘dossier’ compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.”
According to the memo, neither the initial FISA application in October 2016 nor the renewal applications make any mention of “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.”
“The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named U.S. person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a U.S. law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNC (even though it was known by DOJ at the time that political actors were involved with the Steele dossier). The application does not mention Steel was ultimately working on behalf of— and paid by— the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information,” the memo stated.
Furthermore, the FISA application “cited extensively a September 23, 2016 Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow.”
“This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News,” the memo emphasized.
The memo also suggests that Steele pitched the story with Yahoo News himself.
“The Page FISA application incorrectly assesses that Steele did not directly provide information to Yahoo News. Steele has admitted in British court filings that he met with Yahoo News—and several other outlets— in September 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS. Perkins Coie was aware of Steele’s initial media contacts because they hosted at least one meeting in Washington D.C. in 2016 with Steele and Fusion GPS where this matter was discussed,” the memo stated.
The memo also noted that although Steele was fired as an FBI source “for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations—an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI in an October 30, 2016, Mother Jones article by David Corn,” he should have initially been fired for “his previous undisclosed contacts with Yahoo and other outlets in September – before the Page application was submitted to the FISC in October.”
That didn’t happen, the memo stated, because “Steele improperly concealed from and lied to the FBI about those contacts.”