Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, center, flanked by Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., left, and Steve Castor, the Republican staff attorney, questions the witnesses during the first public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The House Intelligence Committee is about to look into information that the CIA provided for the FBI in 2016, according to ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA). The lawmaker discussed the next steps of the ongoing investigation into potential wrongdoing on the part of the FBI during the beginning of the Russia interference investigation.
The next phase of the probe will focus on three “dossiers” and three Russian Americans who may have been involved in the effort against President Donald Trump. This development comes after key documents were declassified.
These documents revealed that the FBI received a warning that former British spy Christopher Steele’s dossier was likely tainted by Russian misinformation. The Bureau decided to use the dossier to obtain a warrant to spy on former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page despite the warning. Nunes stated that he would send additional criminal referrals to the Justice Department.
In a Sunday appearance on Fox News, Nunes state that the committee would be investigating the CIA. He referenced the work performed by former Republican Representative Trey Gowdy as providing insight into the potential role that the CIA played.
“In 2016, we know from great work that Trey Gowdy did at the time … that the CIA gave information over to the FBI in 2016. We now are laser-focused on that. We need to know: Exactly what did the CIA give to the FBI in 2016?” Nunes explained.
Gowdy, who served as the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, urged investigators to look into emails between former CIA Director John Brennan and former FBI Director James Comey from December 16. The Steele dossier, which was full of unsubstantiated claims about the president, was used to support the intelligence community’s report claiming that Russia interfered in 2016 to help Trump.
In November 2019, Brennan distanced himself from an upcoming report on the probe into alleged FISA abuses against Page. The former CIA director told MSNBC that “The FBI was taking the lead” on obtaining the surveillance warrants. He explained that the CIA could have known about the former Trump advisor if his name “came up in some type of Intelligence Community report.” He indicated that the information “would have been immediately shared with the FBI.”
Earlier this month, The Washington Examiner reported that U.S. Attorney John Durham, who has been tasked with investigating the origin of the Russia investigation, was “putting increased scrutiny on former CIA Director John Brennan, searching for any undue influence he may have had during 2017’s intelligence community assessment of Russian interference.”
Durham is looking into a number of sensitive issues, one of which is whether or not Brennan pressured the intelligence community to agree with his conclusions regarding the motivation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The attorney has been interviewing several CIA officials since the beginning of 2020 and has been honing in on individuals working with the National Intelligence Council.
The council facilitated the collaboration between the FBI, NSA, and CIA in drafting he 2017 report, which argued with “high confidence” that the Russian president “ordered an influence campaign in 2016,” to “undermine public faith” in America’s electoral process and to damage Hillary Clinton politically. The report insisted that the Kremlin had “developed a clear preference” for Trump.
Attorney General William Barr gave an interview with Fox News in which he discussed the alleged surveillance abuse. “I think it’s very sad and the people who abused FISA have a lot to answer for, because this was an important tool to protect the American people…They abused it. They undercut public confidence in FISA but also the FBI is an institution and we have to rebuild that,” He told Host Laura Ingraham.
As Durham’s investigation continues, new developments have continued to arise. However, the DOJ has not indicated whether there will be any prosecutions. Given the fact that the DOJ seems to be mostly focused on punishing individuals who are associated with Trump, it’s easy to have a level of skepticism about the ultimate result of the investigation. But either way, the public will know what happened in 2016 soon enough.
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