UnNews:Now, read the Schiff memo
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Now, one week after Mueller indicted 13 Russians, 3 Russky entities (a.k.a. "troll farms"), and one American (outside of Trump's inner circle) for their role in sabotaging the primaries and the election and making us all butthurt -- and one day after Rick Gates finally pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller (and not to mention in the middle of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea!) -- *deep breath*
Aaaaaand on the exact same day Uncyclopedia upgraded to to MediaWiki 1.30 with plenty of bugs still unresolved, the Democrats have finally released their/Adam Schiff's rebuttal memo, overriding Tiny Hands Donny's veto. However, some portions of the Schiff memo are redacted because Trump's a butthurt crybaby who can't accept the truth.
Nevertheless, UnNews is proud (if bombarded) to present to you, the reader, all ten pages of the Adam Schiff memo. Once again, any typos are sic.
TO: All Members of the House of Representatives
FROM: HSPCI Minority
DATE: January 29, 2018
RE: Correcting the Record — The Russia Investigations
The HSPCI Majority's move to release to the House of Representatives its allegations against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) is a transparent effort to undermine these agencies, The Special Counsel, and Congress' investigations. It also risks public exposure of sensitive sources and methods for no legitimate purpose. And frankly, it's fucking stupid. I mean, have you even bothered to read the damn thing? It's an epic farce!
FBI and DOJ officials did not "abuse" the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process, omit material information, or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign.
In fact (I know you hate that word, but here it is. Fact, fact, fact.), DOJ and the FBI would have been remiss in their duty to protect the country from your orange clown god had they not sought a FISA warrant and repeated renewals to conduct temporary surveillance of Carter Page, someone the FBI assessed to be an agent of the Russian government. DOJ met the rigor, transparency, and evidentiary basis needed to meet FISA's probable cause requirement, by demonstrating:
The Committee's Minority has therefore prepared this memorandum to correct the record:
- Christopher Steele's raw intelligence reporting did not inform the FBI's decision to initiate its counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016. In fact, the FBI's closely-held investigative team only received Steele's reporting in mid-September — more than seven weeks later. I know you guys suck at math, but come on! The FBI — and, subsequently, the Special Counsel's — investigation into links between the Russian government and Trump campaign associates has been based on troubling law enforcement and intelligence information unrelated to the "dossier." So no, the Pee Tapes had nothing to do this any of this, which isn't to say they won't in the future.
- DOJ's October 21, 2016 FISA application and three subsequent renewals carefully outlined for the Court a multi-pronged rationale for surveilling Page, who, at the time of the first application, was no longer with the Trump campaign. DOJ detailed Page's past relationships with Russian spies and interaction with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, . DOJ cited multiple sources to support the case for surveilling Page — but made only narrow use of information from Steele's sources about Page's specific activities in 2016, chiefly his suspected July 2016 meetings in Moscow with Russian officials. . In fact, the FBI interviewed Page in March 2016 about his contact with Russian intelligence, the very month candidate Donald Trump named him a foreign policy adviser. So, one again, no Pee Tapes. Nice try, though.
As DOJ informed the Court in subsequent renewals, . Steel's reporting about Page's Moscow meetings . DOJ's applications did not otherwise rely on Steele's reporting, including any "salacious" allegations
about Trump involving Russian hookers and pee, and the FBI never paid Steele for his reporting. That's what book and movie deals are for. While explaining why the FBI viewed Steele's reporting and sources reliable and credible, DOJ also disclosed:
- Steele's prior relationship with the FBI;
- the fact of and reason for his termination as a source; and
- the assessed political motivations of those who hired him.
- The Committee Majority's memorandum, which draws selectively on highly classified information (and makes up a bunch of bullshit to make Deomocrats look bad, only to make Republicans look worse than they already did), includes other distortions and misrepresentations that are contradicted by the underlying classified documents, which the vast majority of Members of the Committee and the House have not had the opportunity to review — and which
Dick DastardlyChairman Nunes chose not to read himself. Can the dude even read, period?
On January 18, 2018, the Committee Majority, during an unrelated business meeting, forced a surprise vote to release to the full House a profoundly misleading memorandum alleging serious abuses by the FBI and DOJ. Majority staff drafted the document in secret on behalf of Chairman Devin Nunes (and reportedly with the guidance and input from Rep. Trey Gowdy), and then rushed a party-line vote without prior notice. It was the worst thing anyone did to the Full House since the sitcom's 1995 cancellation. And another thing, isn't Nunes supposed to be recused? I guess I didn't get the memo.
Anyway, this was by design. The overwhelming majority of Committee Members never received DOJ authorization to access the underlying classified information, and therefore could not judge the veracity of Chairman Nunes' claims. Due to sensitive sources and methods, DOJ provided access only to the Committee's Chair and Ranking Member (or respective designees), and limited staff, to facilitate the Committee's investigation into Russia's covert campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. elections. As DOJ has confirmed publicly, it did not authorize the broader release of this information within Congress or to the public, and Chairman Nunes refused to allow DOJ and the FBI to review his document until he permitted the FBI Director to see it for the first time in HSPCI's secure spaces late on Sunday, January 28 — 10 days after disclosure to the House. There's that pesky math again. Sorry, unevolved Neanderthals.
FBI's Counterintelligence investigation
In its October 2016 FISA application and subsequent renewals, DOJ accurately informed the Court that the FBI initiated its counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016, after receiving information . George Papadopoulos (Damn, that's a tough name to spell!) revealed that individuals linked to Russia, who took interest in Papadopoulos as a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, informed him in late April 2016 that Russia . Papadopoulos's disclosure, moreover, occurred against the backdrop of Russia's aggressive covert campaign to influence our elections, which the FBI was already monitoring. We would later learn in Papadopoulos's plea that that the information the Russians could assert by anonymously releasing were thousands of Hillary Clinton emails.
DOJ told the Court the truth (which Jack Nicholson once said "you can't handle"). This is not fake news. Its representation was consistent with the FBI's underlying investigative record, which current and former senior staff officials later corroborated in extensive
Committee testimony. Christopher Steele's reporting, which he began to share with an FBI agent through the end of October 2016, Played no role in launching the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference and links to the Trump campaign. In fact (Sorry, not sorry!), Steele's reporting did not reach the counterintelligence team investigating Russia at FBI headquarters until mid-September 2016, more than seven weeks (there's that math again!) after the FBI opened its investigation, because the probe's existence was so closely held within the FBI. By then, the FBI had already opened sub-inquiries into individuals linked to the Trump campaign: and former campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.
As Committee testimony plays out, the FBI would have continued its investigation, including against individuals. even if it had never received information from Steele, never applied for a FISA warrant against Page, or if the FISC had rejected the application.
DOJ's FISA Application and Renewals
The initial warrant application and subsequent renewals received independent scrutiny and approval by four different federal judges,
three two of whom were appointed by President George W. Bush and one by President Ronald Reagan. (One by George H.W. Bush.) DOJ first applied to the FISC on October 21, 2016 for a warrant to permit the FBI to initiate electronic surveillance and physical search of Page for 90 days, consistent with FISA requirements. The Court approved three renewals — in early January 2017, early April 2017, and late June 2017 — which authorized the FBI to maintain surveillance on Page until late September 2017. Senior DOJ and FBI officials appointed by the Obama and Trump Administrations, including acting Attorney General Dana Boente and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, certified the applications with the court. And I don't mean Night Court, either.
FISA was not used to spy on Trump or his campaign, as much as we despise those blood-sucking vampires. As the Trump campaign and Page have acknowledged, Page ended his formal affiliation with the campaign months before DOJ applied for a warrant. DOJ, moreover, submitted the initial application less than three weeks before the election, even though the FBI's investigation had been ongoing since the end of July 2016.
DOJ's warrant request was based on compelling evidence and probable cause to believe Page was knowingly assisting clandestine Russian intelligence activities in the U.S.:
- Page's connections to Russian Government and Intelligence Officials: The FBI had an independent basis for investigating Page's motivations and actions during the campaign, transition, and following the inauguration. As DOJ described in detail to the Court, Page had an extensive record as  prior to joining the Trump campaign. He resided in Moscow from 2004-2007 and pursued business deals with Russia's state-owned energy company (and Mob hideout) Gazprom — . As early as , a Russian intelligence officer targeted Page for recruitment. Page showed . Hell, why are we even telling anybody this? Half of it's gonna get redacted anyway.
- Page remained on the radar of Russian intelligence and the FBI. In 2013, prosecutors indicted three other Russian spies, two of whom target page for recruitment. The FBI also interviewed Page multiple times about his Russian intelligence contacts, including in March 2016. The FBI's concern about and knowledge of Page's activities therefore long predate the FBI's receipt of Steele's information.
- Page's Suspicious Activity During the 2016 Campaign: The FISA applications also detail Page's suspicious activity after joining the Trump campaign in March 2016. Page traveled to Moscow in July 2016, during which he gave a university commencement address — an honor usually reserved for well-known luminaries. Page, at the time, was neither well-known nor a luminary. He may be the former now, but he'll never be the latter. Or at least we hope not.
- It is in this specific sub-section of the applications that DOJ refers to Steele's reporting on Page and his alleged coordination with Russian officials. Steele's information on about Page was consistent with the FBI's assessment of Russian intelligence efforts to recruit him to fuck up the election, and his connections to Russian persons of interest.
- In particular, Steele's sources reported that Page met separately while in Russia with Igor Sechin, a close associate of Vladimir Putin and executive chairman of Rosneft, Russia's state-owned (What isn't?) oil company, and Igor Divyekin, a senior Kremlin official. Notice how a lot of these Russians have the same first name, like those two Sergey's? Sechin allegedly discussed the prospect of future U.S.-Russia energy cooperation and "an associated move to lift Ukraine-related western sanctions against Russia." Divyekin allegedly disclosed to Page that the Kremlin possessed compromising information on Clinton ("kompromat") and noted "the possibility of its being released to Candidate #1's campaign." [Note: Candidate #1, of course, refers to that hairy, tweeting ape. But you already knew that.] This closely tracks what other Russian contacts were informing another Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos. You know, what, let's just call it George P from now on! I have to copy/paste the dude's name because it's too long! Damn, at least Arnold Schwarzenegger's name is fun.
- In subsequent FISA renewals, DOJ provided additional information obtained through multiple independent sources that corroborated Steele's reporting:
This information (not that anyone will ever see it without an ugly black bar over it) contradicts Page's November 2, 2017 testimony to the Committee, in which he initially denied any such meetings and then was forced to admit speaking with
Dvorkovich and meeting with Rosneft's Sechin-tied investor relations chief, Andrey Baranov.
- The Court-approved surveillance of Page allowed FBI to collect valuable intelligence. The FISA renewals demonstrate that the FBI collected important investigative information and leads by conducting Court-approved surveillance. For instance, (Go ahead, take the cap off that fucking marker!) 
- DOJ also documented evidence that Page , anticipated and repeatedly contacted in an effort to present himself as   Page's efforts to also contradict his sworn testimony to our committee.
DOJ's Transparency about Christopher Steele
Far from "omitting" material facts about Steele, as the Majority claims, DOJ repeatedly informed the Court about Steele's background, credibility, and potential bias. DOJ explained in detail Steele's prior relationship with and compensation from the FBI; his credibility, reporting history, and source network; the fact of and reason for his termination as a source in late October 2016; and the likely political motivations of those who hired Steele.
- DOJ was transparent with Court about Steele's sourcing: The Committee's Majority, which had earlier accused Obama Administration officials of improper "unmasking," faults DOJ for not revealing the names of specific U.S. persons and entities in the FISA application and subsequent renewals. In fact (A fact is something that's true, not something Republicans make up to make Democrats look bad, or to get the feds off their ass.), DOJ appropriately upheld its longstanding practice of protecting U.S. citizen information by purposely not "unmasking" U.S. person and entity names, unless they were themselves the subject of a counterintelligence investigation. DOJ instead used generic identifiers that provided the Court with more than sufficient information to understand the political context of Steele's research. In an extensive explanation to the Court, DOJ discloses that Steele
“was approached by an identified U.S. Person, who indicated to Source #1 [Steele] that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. Person to conduct research regarding Orange Dictator's ties to Russia. (The identified U.S. person and Source #1 have a long-standing business relationship.) The identified U.S. Person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. Person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Orange Dictator's ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Orange Dictator's campaign.”
- Contrary to the Majority's assertion that DOJ fails to mention that Steele's research was commissioned by "political actors" to "obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump's ties to Russia," DOJ in fact informed the Court accurately that Steele was hired by
- politically-motivated U.S. persons and entities and that his research appeared intended for use to "discredit" the Trump campaign.
- DOJ explained the FBI's reasonable basis for finding Steele credible: The applications correctly described Steele as . The applications also reviewed Steele's multi-year history of credible reporting on Russia and other matters, including information DOJ used in criminal proceedings. Senior FBI and DOJ officials have repeatedly affirmed to the Committee the reliability and credibility of Steele's reporting, an assessment also reflected in the FBI's underlying source documents. The FBI has undertaken a rigorous process to vet allegations for Steele's reporting, including with regard to Page.
- The FBI properly notified the FISC after it terminated Steele as a source for making unauthorized disclosures to the media. The Majority cites to evidence that the FBI, prior to filing its initial October 21, 2016 application, actually knew or should have known any allegedly inappropriate media contacts by Steele. Nor do they cite evidence that Steele disclosed to Yahoo! details included in the FISA warrant, since the British Court filings to which they refer did not address what Steele may have said to Yahoo!
- DOJ informed the court in its renewals that the FBI acted promptly to terminate Steele after learning from him (after DOJ filed the first warrant application) that he had discussed his work with a media outlet in Late October. The January 2018 renewal further explained to the Court that Steele told the FBI that he made his unauthorized media disclosure because of his frustration at Director Comey's public announcement shortly before the election that the FBI reopened its investigation into candidate Clinton's email use.
- DOJ never paid Steele for the "dossier": The Majority asserts that the FBI had "separately authorized payment" to Steele for his research on Trump but neglects to mention that payment was cancelled and never made. As the FBI's records show and Committee testimony confirms, although the FBI initially considered compensation , Steele ultimately never received payment from the FBI for any "dossier"-related information. DOJ accurately informed the Court that Steele been an FBI confidential human source since , for which he was "compensated by the FBI" — payment for previously-shared information of value unrelated to the FBI's Russia investigation. TL;DR: The House Majority is full of shit. God, I cant wait till November!
Additional Omissions, Errors, and Distortions in the Majority's Memorandum
- DOJ appropriately provided the Court with a comprehensive explanation of Russia's election fuckery, including evidence that Russia courted another Trump campaign adviser, George P, and that Russian agents previewed their hack and dissemination of stolen emails. In claiming there is "no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page" and George P, the Majority misstates the reason why DOJ specifically explained Russia's courting of George P. George P's interaction with Russian agents, coupled with real-time evidence of Russian election fuckery, provided the Court with a broader context in which to evaluate Russia's clandestine activities and Page;s history and alleged contact with Russian officials. Moreover, since only Page
- In its Court filings, DOJ made proper use of news coverage. The Majority makes up bullshit claiming that the FISA materials "relied heavily" on a September 23, 2016 Yahoo! news article Michael Isikoff and that this article "does not corroborate Steele because we say it doesn't and we're always right." In fact, DOJ referenced Isikoff's article, alongside one the Majority fails to mention, not to provide separate corroboration, but to inform the court of Page's public denial of his suspected meetings in Moscow, which Page also echoed in a September 26, 2016 letter to FBI Director Comey. 
- The Majority's reference to Bruce Ohr is patent bullshit. The Majority mischaracterizes Bruce Ohr's role, overstates the significance of his interactions with Steele, and misleads about the timeframe of Ohr's communication with the FBI. In late November 2016, Ohr informed the feds of his prior professional relationship with Steele and info that Steele hared with him (including Steele's concern that Trump is in bed with Russia). He also described his wife's work with Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele separately. This occurred weeks after the election and more than a month after the Court approved the initial FISA application. The Majority describes Ohr as a senior DOJ official who "worked closely" with Sally Yates "and later Rosenstein," in order to imply that Ohr was somehow involved in the FISA process. What a load of hogwash!
Bruce Ohr is a well-respected career professional (redundant much?) whose portfolio is drugs and organized crime, not counterintelligence. It's bullshit to believe he would have known about the Page FISA applications and their contents. Regardless, Ohr and the Majority's assertions of him have fuck-all to do with the subject in question. By the time Ohr debriefs, Steele's work was already done. I wish everybody's was! I feel like my fucking head is about to explode! I'm surprised that Palmer guy hasn't had a stroke!
- Finally, what the fuck do Peter Strzok and Lisa Page have to do with the subject in question? The Majority strangely mentions Strzok and Ms. Page in their memo. Don't ask me why. I'm not even gonna waste my time with this. Moving on.
Am I done yet? I am. Oh thank, God!
Now here's all those footnotes. I'll add them after my lunch break and a power nap.
^ Letter to HSPCI Chairman Devin Nunes (who I thought was supposed to be recused), Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, Department of Justice, January 24, 2018.
^ Same. DOJ also confirmed in writing to Minority Staff DOJ and FBI's terms of review:
Email from Stephen Boyd to HSPCI Minority Staff, January 18, 2018 (emphasis supplied).
^ Aforementioned letter to Nunes.
^ George P's October 5, 2017 guilty plea.
^ [Heavily redacted]
^ George P and Michael Flynn have cut plea deals with Mueller and are cooperating in the investigation.
^ Department of Justice, FISA application, October 21, 2016.
^ Department of Justice, FISA application, June 29, 2017.
^ the FBI and broader Intelligence Committee's high confidence assessment that Russia is guilty as sin.
^ Aforementioned June 29, 2017 FISA.
^ Nunes memo.
^ Glenn Simpson.
^ Christopher Steele.
^ Perkins Coie LLP
^ Guess who?
^ Aforementioned October 21, 2016 FISA.
^ Nunes memo.
^ Aforementioned FISA.
^ Interview with Andrew McCabe, December 19, 2017.
^ Interview with FBI Agent.
^ See Notes 22 and 24.
^ Nunes memo.
^ That damn memo again.
^ See Note 29.
^ McCabe interview.
Man, that was as exhausting to transcribe as it was to read! Didn't think it'd take all night. Well, that's the heavily-redacted Schiff memo in most of its glory. Much easier to comprehend than Nunes's right-wing drivel.
- Shelby Lin Erdman "House releases Democrats’ rebuttal to GOP memo on alleged government surveillance abuses" Cox Media Group National Content Desk, February 24, 2018
- Mary Clare Jalonick "Congress releases redacted, declassified Democratic memo" Associated Press, February 24, 2018
- "Adam Schiff memo" House.gov, February 24, 2018