Another claim of the House Intelligence Committee’s FISA abuse memo authored by Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has been confirmed to be true. That claim is that when the FBI and DOJ cited a Yahoo News article as part of the warrant application to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, those agencies deliberately misled the court and abused the FISA process.
When the FBI and DOJ applied for and received a warrant to conduct surveillance on Page, they cited the now-discredited “dossier” compiled by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele (shown). They also cited — as corroborating evidence — a Yahoo News article that supported the claims of the “dossier.” They did so on the original application and on all three renewal applications. The problem was that they knew all along that the Yahoo article could not be used to corroborate the “dossier” because Christopher Steele was the source of the article.
The Nunes memo states, “The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016 Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow,” and continues, “This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News.”
In other words, the article (which had Steele as its source) could not reasonably be seen as corroborating the “dossier” (which had Steele as its author). If Steele was the source of the Yahoo piece and the FBI and DOJ knew that, there can be no doubt that those agencies misled the court and abused the FISA process.
Democrats denied this and other claims of the Nunes memo and voted not only to keep it from the public, but to keep even other members of the House from seeing it. When that failed, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) authored a rebuttal memo, attempting to dispute those claims in writing. The Schiff memo dismisses the idea that the Yahoo article was based on information provided by Steele. Then the memo goes on to paraphrase the Yahoo article. One example of this is when the memo states, “Page traveled to Moscow in July 2016, during which he gave a university address — an honor usually reserved for well-known luminaries.” The picture accompanying the Yahoo article carries the caption, “Carter Page speaks at the graduation ceremony for the New Economic School in Moscow in July.”
So, it appears that while the Yahoo article used the information provided by Steele in a slippery attempt to lend credibility to the “dossier” written by Steele, Schiff is now using the same article to attempt the same thing.
Unfortunately for Schiff and company, there is evidence that Steele was the source of the Yahoo article. In fact, as the Washington Times reported, there are two major “pieces of evidence that say Mr. Steele was in fact the source.”
One is that Steele admitted in a court case in London that “he came to the U.S. in September 2016 at the request of Fusion GPS, which paid him with Democratic Party money” and that he “met with a number of major news representatives, including The New York Times and The Washington Post as he tried to sell his explosive charges” and that one of the people he met with was Michael Isikoff, the writer of the Yahoo article cited by the FBI and DOJ in the FISA warrant application.
The second piece of evidence is even more damning to the Democratic denials: Isikoff admits Steele was his source. In the February 2 episode of his podcast, “Skullduggery,” Isikoff told of being introduced to Steele by Glenn Simpson — co-founder of Fusion GPS, the company that hired Steele to create the “dossier.” Isikoff told his podcast listeners, “Steele tells me an amazing story.” That story was:
One of Donald Trump’s foreign policy advisers, Carter Page, had flown to Moscow and held private talks with close associates of Vladimir Putin about lifting U.S. sanctions against Russia. And Steele tells me something else that day that gets my attention. He has taken this information to the FBI, and the bureau is very interested. Why were they interested? What did the bureau know that would prompt them to take the next step of launching an investigation into an adviser to the Republican nominee for president?
Allow a moment for that to settle down and sink in. Steele was being paid by Fusion GPS with money from the DNC and Clinton campaign to create what is now known as a poorly written work of fiction claiming that Donald Trump was in bed (literally and figuratively) with the Russians. He then double-dips by being paid to provide that same information to the FBI. Then, just to fatten his bank account a little more, he triple-dips by shopping the material to journalists, one of whom wrote an article for Yahoo News, citing the material. Finally — in a move that shows unabashed gall — the FBI and DOJ, knowing the source of the claims in the Yahoo piece, use it as evidence that supports the “dossier.”
This is not the first piece of the Nunes memo to be confirmed even as Democrats denied it, but it is one of the most blatant. That Isikoff, an established and successful journalist, admits that Steele was his source, should be seen as a stake through the heart of the denial offered by Democrats.
Photo of Christopher Steele: Victoria Jones/PA Wire URN:30440597 (Press Association via AP Images)