Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinThe Trump Presidency: Year One Graham, Meadows go on the attack over Steele dossier FBI chief: Encryption is ‘urgent public safety issue’ MORE approved an application last year to extend surveillance of former Trump campaign associate Carter Page, a secret Republican memo claims, The New York Times reported.
According to the Times, which cited three people familiar with the memo, the FBI and Justice Department’s (DOJ) application was based partially on research by investigator Christopher Steele, who contributed to a dossier containing unverified claims about President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: If there’s no wall, there’s no DACA fix Trump appears to call out Samsung over missing FBI text messages Trump Commerce pick told lawmakers he would look at reversing Obama move on internet oversight: report MORE‘s ties to Russia.
The GOP memo alleges officials did not sufficiently explain their reasoning for extending the surveillance, it added.
There is no information that the FBI or DOJ did anything improper in their attempts to get a surveillance warrant, according to the Times. The newspaper noted, however, that Republicans could seize on the information and allege that Rosenstein didn’t properly vet the application.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement that President Trump “has been clear publicly and privately that he wants absolute transparency throughout this process.”
“Based on numerous news reports, top officials at the F.B.I. have engaged in conduct that shows bias against President Trump and bias for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump appears to call out Samsung over missing FBI text messages House Judiciary Republican: Comey could be called to testify again Stakes intensify: Mueller seeks to question Trump MORE,” he said, according to the Times.
“While President Trump has the utmost respect and support for the rank-and-file members of the F.B.I., the anti-Trump bias at the top levels that appear to have existed is troubling.”
Page served as Trump’s foreign policy adviser until September 2016.
Congressional Republicans on Sunday pleaded their case for releasing the classified four-page memo, which was produced by staff for Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesHouse Freedom Caucus lobbied Trump for help in releasing FBI memo: report Overnight Tech: Dems push Facebook, Twitter to investigate Russian bots | Record lobbying year for tech | Uber hires chief diversity officer | Feds probe Tesla autopilot crash Overnight Cybersecurity: Mueller interviewed Sessions in Russia probe | Comey met investigators last year | Dems demand social media firms probe Russian bots | Missing FBI text messages anger Republicans MORE (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, based on classified documents provided by the DOJ and FBI. The memo is said to contain allegations that senior FBI officials abused a surveillance program to target the Trump campaign last year.
Many Republicans want the memo to be released publicly, but the manner of its release, and whether it should be reviewed first by the administration, is a matter of dispute.
A report last week in CNN said Trump had been venting about Rosenstein and has made comments about wanting to remove him.
Four sources told the network that Trump in recent weeks maintained his frustration with Rosenstein, the No. 2 Justice Department official overseeing the federal Russia probe.
Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE as the special counsel to lead the Russia probe after Trump in May fired former FBI director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHouse Judiciary Republican: Comey could be called to testify again Stakes intensify: Mueller seeks to question Trump Trump asked acting FBI chief whom he voted for during WH meeting: report MORE.
–This report was updated at 7:58 a.m.
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