- Text messages show that a Justice Department official had “continued concerns” about the FBI’s applications to obtain FISA warrants on Carter Page
- In Oct. 2016, Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer at the time, suggested that Stuart Evans, the DOJ official who handles FISA applications, was concerned about the “possible bias” of an informant used to obtain the warrants
- Lisa Page’s text message likely refers to Christopher Steele, the former British spy whose dossier was used to obtain the Carter Page FISAs.
A top Justice Department official had “continued concerns” about the “possible bias” of an FBI source used to obtain surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
That’s according to text messages that were exchanged on Oct. 12, 2016 between former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and her boss, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Nine days after the exchange, which was first reported by Fox News, the FBI successfully obtained the first of four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Carter Page. The bureau relied heavily on unverified information from a confidential informant, Christopher Steele, to obtain the warrants.
In the texts, Lisa Page suggested that Stuart Evans, the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Intelligence, had concerns about the bias of a confidential human source (CHS) used for the FISA application, which she refers to as “the package.”
“[Office of Intelligence] now has a robust explanation re any possible bias of the chs in the package,” Lisa Page wrote McCabe.
“Don’t know what the holdup is now, other than Stu’s continued concerns. Strong operational need to have in place before Monday if at all possible, which means to ct [sic] tomorrow,” she continued.
As head of the Office of Intelligence, Evans was in charge of handling FISA applications for the Justice Department.
Steele, a former MI6 officer, compiled a series of memos about Donald Trump and his campaign associates on behalf of Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm that worked in 2016 for the Clinton campaign and DNC.
Republican lawmakers have accused the FBI of failing to provide all of the details about Steele and Fusion GPS to the FISA Court judges who approved the Carter Page warrants. Democrats’ funding for the dossier is not addressed in the FISA applications. Steele’s comments to a Justice Department official Bruce Ohr that he was “desperate” to see Trump lose the election are also not included in the applications.
Republicans have also asserted that the FBI had not verified Steele’s claims about Carter Page before using the information in the FISA applications.
Ohr told Congress in an Aug. 28, 2018 interview that he told the FBI at least a month before the FISA applications were submitted about Steele’s comments on Trump.
He said he informed the FBI because Steele’s bias could affect his credibility as an FBI informant.
“So there’s a possibility of bias, and that would affect the credibility of this confidential human source or the information you got from them?” North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican, asked Ohr.
“Yes,” replied Ohr, whose wife worked as a contractor for Fusion GPS.
“I provided information to the FBI when I thought Christopher Steele was, as I said, desperate that Trump not be elected. So, yes, of course, I provided that to the FBI,” Ohr added.
In her texts with McCabe, Lisa Page suggested that the bureau would have to exert pressure on DOJ’s Evans to push through the Carter Page FISA application.
“I communicated you and boss’s green light to Stu earlier, and just sent an email to Stu asking where things stood. This might take a high-level push,” she wrote.
Carter Page, an energy consultant, has vehemently denied the allegations about him found in the Steele dossier. In the report, Steele alleges that Page was the Trump campaign’s liaison to the Kremlin, that he came up with the idea to release DNC emails through WikiLeaks, and that he offered to relax sanctions against Russia in exchange for a brokerage stake in a multi-billion dollar deal involving Rosneft, the Russian oil giant.
Page, who has testified before Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury, has not been accused of any crimes.
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