Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein approved an application last year to extend surveillance of former Trump campaign associate Carter Page, a secret Republican memo claims, according to law enforcement sources and news reports.
Rosenstein has been fighting the release of the memo from inside the Justice Department, sources confirm.
According to three people familiar with the memo, the FBI and Justice Department’s (DOJ) application was based partially on research by investigator Christopher Steele, who contributed to a dossier containing unverified claims about President Trump‘s ties to Russia.
The GOP memo alleges officials did not sufficiently explain their reasoning for extending the surveillance.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement that President Trump “has been clear publicly and privately that he wants absolute transparency throughout this process.”
“Based on numerous news reports, top officials at the F.B.I. have engaged in conduct that shows bias against President Trump and bias for Hillary Clinton,” he said, according to the Times.
“While President Trump has the utmost respect and support for the rank-and-file members of the F.B.I., the anti-Trump bias at the top levels that appear to have existed is troubling.”
Page served as Trump’s foreign policy adviser until September 2016.
This report is based on source information from True Pundit, The Hill and New York Times.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed #Mueller so that means Dep. AG is bought & paid for. Only Louis Freeh would have been worse
— Thomas Paine (@Thomas1774Paine) May 18, 2017
The House Intelligence Committee meets at 5 p.m. Monday in the Capitol. The meeting will give the committee its first opportunity to vote on the question of releasing the so-called “FISA abuse” memo that has captured Washington’s attention in recent days. Since the GOP holds a 13 to 9 advantage on the committee, the overwhelming likelihood is that if there is a vote, the panel will decide, along party lines, to release the memo.
At that point, House rules call for the committee to await a decision by the president on whether he supports or opposes release of the memo. President Trump has made clear he supports release, so the memo could be made public quickly.
Now, though, it appears that Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who remains recused from the Trump-Russia affair — is trying to send conciliatory signals to Congress on the oversight issue. In a speech in Norfolk, Va. on Friday, Sessions suggested the Justice Department has been too “defensive” in handling criticism.
“We don’t see criticism from Congress as a bad thing,” Sessions said. “We welcome Congress as a partner in this effort [to improve the Justice Department]. When they learn of a problem and start asking questions, that is a good thing. Sunlight truly is the best disinfectant. Truth produces confidence.”