Reporting by Catherine Herridge, Fox News
Two Senior FBI officials, one from the bureau’s counter intelligence division, the other from legal, have now reviewed the republican staff memo, alleging abuses of government surveillance programs during the 2016 election, a source familiar with the matter tells Fox News, adding that the officials “could not point to any factual inaccuracies.”
The two bureau officials followed up, after an initial review of the memo, in a rare Sunday trip to Capitol Hill, by FBI Director Christopher Wray. The FBI offered no comment today for Fox’s reporting about the officials, and their findings.
After the contentious house intelligence committee vote Monday night, the source confirms that house staffers physically took the memo over to the White House for the President, who has five working days to voice reservations or objections.
While the Justice Department, in a January 24 letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd, called the republican staff memo’s release, “unprecedented” and “reckless,” Fox News is told that the memo was “drafted deliberately to eliminate national security information” that could be harmed if viewed by individuals outside congress. Boyd also stated “Though we (Justice Department) are currently unaware of any wrongdoing relating to the FISA process, we agree that any abuse of that system cannot be tolerated.”
The source said the FBI and Justice Department had “fought tooth and nail” for close to a year to avoid providing the surveillance related records to congress, including the handling of the Trump dossier and whether it was used, as recently as last year, to secure or extend surveillance warrants for US persons. The source said additional records provided this month, after the Republican committee chairman Devin Nunes threatened to move forward with contempt of congress citations, backed up investigators’ earlier findings.
The committee is in the process of lining up the remaining FBI and DOJ interviews which are expected in early February. The house intelligence committee republicans have two outstanding records’ requests: additional Strzok/Page texts, and records documenting an April 2017 meeting between DOJ lawyer/now senior Special Counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissman and a major media organization. The Weissman deadline was January 11th.
In a January 4th letter, documenting his agreement with Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to avoid contempt citations, Nunes wrote “I understand that your office is researching records related to the details of an April 2017 meeting between DOJ Attorney Andrew Weissman (now the senior attorney for Special Counsel Robert Mueller) and the media which will be provided to this Committee by close of business Thursday January 11, 2018.”
The source said the FBI and Justice Department said they wanted additional time to gather all of the Weissman records, to provide them at once. Fox understands the committee will make a new push for the remaining Weissman records as early as this week.
Republican congressman Jim Jordan recently told Fox “I am interested in anything the FBI did to leak information to further their narrative.”