The memo separately seems to confirm that the Steele dossier didn’t trigger the Russia investigation as a whole. Instead, it seems to say that an FBI agent started the investigation due to information about another campaign aide, George Papadopoulos.

The memo claims that Steele leaked information to Yahoo News—but again, doesn’t dispute the information itself

The memo takes issue with the fact that the application “cited extensively” a Yahoo News article about Page’s trip to Moscow in July 2016. The memo claims that the article doesn’t corroborate the Steele dossier, since, it alleges, that article was based on a leak from Steele. The authors base this allegation on the fact that Steele has said he met with Yahoo News. 

Nevertheless, the memo’s authors don’t dispute any of the reporting in the piece and fail to acknowledge that the speech Page gave in Moscow was in the public domain.

The memo faults the FBI for not firing Steele— over something it didn’t know

Citing the fact that the FBI terminated its relationship with Steele after he spoke to the media, the memo chides the FBI for not having done so earlier (in September). However, the authors themselves point out that the FBI didn’t find out that Steele had been talking to the media until later.

It reveals that the warrant to spy on Carter Page was renewed three times

The memo also reveals that the warrant to surveil Page was renewed three times. As former White House ethics counsel Norm Eisen points out, the Steele dossier’s (potentially biased) provenance was public knowledge by the time the surveillance application was up for renewal, and the court chose to renew it anyway.

Furthermore, if the warrant was renewed three times, the secret court adjudicating the warrant would have had to find that the surveillance was providing valuable information, each time—meaning the basis for the application stood up.

It contains irrelevant innuendo

If the aim of the memo were really to probe alleged violations of Page’s civil liberties, it would focus on Page’s civil liberties.

But the memo crams in irrelevant detail from the Republicans’ various narratives to discredit the larger Russia investigation as possible, like the fact that FBI agent Peter Strzok sent anti-Trump texts to his lover, a fellow FBI employee. Special investigator Robert Mueller removed Strzok from the investigation when he found out about the texts, and a Wall Street Journal analysis of 7,000 messages sent between Strzok and his lover found “no evidence of a conspiracy against” Trump.

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