The Senate Judiciary Committee released a trove of declassified documents related to the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign and Russia on Thursday, including new details about the secret surveillance of members on the candidate’s team.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the panel, set up a new website as part of his ongoing investigation of the Trump-Russia investigators and unveiled on Thursday a series of records, including further declassified Justice Department materials related to the surveillance of Trump campaign associate Carter Page, transcripts of recorded conversations that Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos had with FBI confidential human sources, and previously released Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rulings.
“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,” the South Carolina Republican said in a statement.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s lengthy December report criticized the Justice Department and the FBI for at least 17 “significant errors and omissions” related to the FISA warrants against Page and for the bureau’s reliance on British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s salacious and unverified dossier. Steele put his research together at the behest of Glenn Simpson’s opposition research firm Fusion GPS, funded by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee through the Perkins Coie law firm. Horowitz also criticized the bureau for not sharing exculpatory information from confidential human sources with the FISA court.
Declassified footnotes from Horowitz’s FISA report released over the past several days showed the FBI was warned Russian disinformation efforts tied to Russian intelligence services may have compromised the Steele dossier.
The 35-page and 171-page transcripts of conversations Papadopoulos had with sources working for the bureau are largely unredacted. One of them was made public a few days ago, revealing the FBI failed to inform the FISA court about Papadopoulos repeatedly denying the Trump campaign had anything to do with the hacking of the DNC and the dissemination of stolen email to WikiLeaks, which published them during the 2016 campaign.
Graham also released a further declassified version of the initial FISA application and three renewals related to Page, with more details revealed and with new descriptions of the ongoing redactions, including “Foreign Power Statement for Russia,” “Sensitive Information,” and “Source Description,” now included.
The South Carolina Republican additionally released a 12-page letter to the Justice Department alerting the FISA court in July 2018 of some of the serious flaws in the Page FISA filings.
Horowitz’s report said the letter described omissions related to statements made by Papadopoulos to FBI confidential human sources in September and October 2016 denying that anyone involved in the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia in the DNC hack or release of emails, information that DOJ attorney Bruce Ohr provided the FBI in November and December 2016 about Steele’s motivations and reliability, and admissions Steele himself made in April and May of 2017 related to his interactions with the news media in the summer and fall of 2016.
Earlier in the evening Thursday, Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, demanding documents to help them determine the extent to which the FBI’s investigation was “infected by Russian disinformation.”