Andrew Zebrun IIIParticipantPostcount 278 April 17, 2020 at 5:36 am
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham released a slew of newly declassified documents from the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign on Thursday, including previously secret information from the bureau’s applications to surveil Carter Page.
Graham also released two transcripts of a confidential FBI informant’s conversations in 2016 with George Papadopoulos, another former Trump campaign aide.
One of the transcripts was from a Sept. 15, 2016 meeting that Papadopoulos had in London with Stefan Halper, a former Cambridge professor who served as an FBI confidential human source. The other transcript was from an Oct. 29, 2016 encounter that Papadopoulos had in Chicago with one of his friends, who served as an FBI informant.
Both Halper and the second source secretly recorded Papadopoulos.
The document dump follows on the heels of other information from the Trump-Russia probe that has been declassified over the past week.
Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson also released information from a Justice Department inspector general’s report that showed that the FBI received evidence that Russian operatives may have fed disinformation to Christopher Steele, the former British spy whose dossier the FBI used to obtain the surveillance warrants against Page. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Crossfire Typhoon’: Here Is A 171-Page Transcript Of George Papadopoulos’s Encounter With An FBI Informant)
Graham also released less-redacted versions of the four applications that the FBI sought for surveillance orders against Page. The applications show that investigators relied heavily on information from Steele to obtain authorization to spy on the ex-Trump aide through eavesdropping and physical searches of his property.
The fourth application provides the most detail of the FBI’s investigation of Page. Investigators asserted that there was probable cause to suspect that Page was working covertly as a Russian agent. Page was not indicted in the special counsel’s investigation, and a report of that probe said that nobody from the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government or acted as a Russian agent.
Graham, a South Carolina Republican closely allied with President Trump, also released a 12-page letter that the head of the Justice Department sent to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) acknowledging multiple omissions in the FBI’s surveillance applications.
In the July 12, 2018 letter, John C. Demers, the assistant attorney general for national security, said that the Justice Department’s National Security Division had learned that the FBI failed to disclose potentially exculpatory information from Papadopoulos’s interactions with the FBI’s confidential sources.
The Justice Department invalidated the last two surveillance applications against Page due to multiple errors in the FBI’s handling of information from Steele.
The Justice Department inspector general found that Steele’s primary source for the dossier disputed much of what was reported in the document. The FBI failed to disclose the derogatory information to the FISC. A top FBI agent on the Trump-Russia case also failed to tell the FISC that Page had a longstanding relationship with the CIA.
“I’m committed to being as transparent as possible about the circumstances surrounding FISA abuse. The goal is to make sure it never happens again,” Graham said in a statement announcing the release of the documents.
The Judiciary committee has also set up a website to house documents from the Russia investigation.
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