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Gowdy: FISA Warrants on Carter Page Would Not Have Been Authorized Without Steele Dossier

• February 4, 2018 2:12 pm

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Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) said Sunday that he does not think a surveillance warrant for former Donald Trump campaign adviser Carter Page would have been authorized without the controversial Christopher Steele "dossier."

Gowdy's comments came two days after the release of a memo that he wrote along with House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) and two investigators that alleged Department of Justice abuses in its surveillance of Page.

The memo has drawn significant criticism from Democrats who say it is misleading and meant to undermine the integrity of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

"When you're talking about this Steele memo, you are not saying that it was the sole piece of evidence used to justify these four authorizations of the surveillance warrant, are you?" CBS host Margaret Brennan asked on "Face the Nation."

"No. It was not the exclusive information relied upon by the FISA court," Gowdy said.

"Would it have been authorized were it not for that dossier?" Brennan asked.

"No. It would not have been," Gowdy responded.

"How can you say that? Because it was authorized four times by separate judges, right?" Brennan asked.

Gowdy noted that the dossier information was "in there" all four times as well. He said that he has "total confidence" in the FBI and Justice Department, as well as Mueller's probe, but added that he also has "serious concerns" about the process.

At issue is whether the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court was aware of the explicitly Democratic leanings of those funding the Steele dossier, which contains salacious and unverified information about Trump and his relationship with Russia. Steele, a former British intelligence officer, compiled the dossier in 2016 on behalf of Fusion GPS, a research firm that itself had been commissioned by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

The Republican intelligence memo also states that there was intelligence about former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that predated the dossier in the bid to get the FISA warrant.

Disclosure: The Washington Free Beacon was once a client of Fusion GPS. That relationship ended in January 2017. For more information, see here.