On Thursday, AG Barr released the full Mueller report.
Fox News reported that Barr held a press conference Thursday ahead of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian effort to influence the 2016 presidential election and its ties to the Trump campaign.
Barr was joined by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The redacted report will be released to Congress at 11 a.m. ET and then become available soon afterward on the Department of Justice’s website.
The decision to hold a press conference ahead of the report’s release sparked controversy among Democrats who claimed it was a move to shape the narrative surrounding the report. Some Democrats demanded Barr cancel the press conference.
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Rep. Devin Nunes has read the report, and he’s discovered a ‘hidden’ bombshell that shows how the entire Mueller investigation was tainted by the fact it was predicated by the debunked, Hillary funded dossier.
If the motive was to simply find the truth, why was the “investigation” predicated on a fake document?
When will the investigation into the investigators begin?
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., revealed where in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report he says “Clinton dirt” tainted the Russia investigation.
During an interview on Fox News, hours after the 448-page report was released, Nunes pointed to a “hidden” passage on page 11 that addresses the scope memo for the yearslong investigation.
“When you look at what happened today, remember we talked a lot about the scope memo. What were the directions given to the special counsel? Well, we now know hidden on page 11, very thinly, still veiled, but we now know they used the Steele dossier, the Clinton dirt, the Clinton-paid-for dirt as part of the memo for the special counsel that directed the special counsel what to do,” Nunes told host Sean Hannity.
The classified scope memorandum was issued by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in August 2017, months after he appointed Mueller to lead the Russia investigation without citing a crime. A heavily redacted version of the August memo has already been released to the public. Allies of President Trump, including Nunes, have called for full disclosure of that memo, as well as of documents related to investigatory efforts looking into Trump’s inner circle, including FISA warrants that targeted onetime campaign aide Carter Page.
Nunes said the report showed Mueller’s investigation was prompted to investigate Page as well as former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort due to the unverified dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele.
“On Carter Page and Paul Manafort, that information came from political opponents, the Clinton campaign fed right into the FBI, directed to the special counsel to go investigate what was in the infamous Steele dossier,” Nunes said.
“That is the only thing of relevance that was in today’s 450-page report,” he emphasized.
Page 11 of Mueller’s report provides an overview of how Mueller was appointed special counsel and how Rosenstein directed his activities. It mentions the Aug. 2 memo Rosenstein wrote that “further clarified” what Mueller was allowed to do as special counsel months after his appointment, targeting members of Trump’s team, including Page, Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Michael Flynn.
“The Acting Attorney General further clarified the scope of the Special Counsel’s investigatory authority in two subsequent memoranda. A memorandum dated August 2, 2017, explained that the Appointment Order had been ‘worded categorically in order to permit its public release without confirming specific investigations involving specific individuals,'” Mueller wrote. “It then confirmed that the Special Counsel had been authorized since his appointment to investigate allegations that three Trump campaign officials-Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and George Papadopoulos- ‘committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials with respect to the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.'”
“The memorandum also confirmed the Special Counsel’s authority to investigate certain other matters, including two additional sets of allegations involving Manafort (crimes arising from payments he received from the Ukrainian government and crimes arising from his receipt of loans from a bank whose CEO was then seeking a position in the Trump Administration); allegations that Papadopoulos committed a crime or crimes by acting as an unregistered agent of the Israeli government; and four sets of allegations involving Michael Flynn, the former National Security Advisor to President Trump,” Mueller added.
Despite this revelation, Nunes said in a statement earlier in the day the Mueller report “ignored a wide range of abuses committed during the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.”
Steele’s dossier was filled with unverified claims about Trump’s compromising ties to Russia. His efforts were funded in part through opposition research firm Fusion GPS, by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, and the Democratic National Committee. Republicans such as Nunes have alleged the FBI misled the FISA court to obtain warrants to spy on Page by using the dossier without mentioning its Democratic benefactors and Steele’s anti-Trump bias.
“Rosenstein then directed them to use that dirt, that dossier, which I think makes up the bulk of what is in the scope memo, that we have still yet to be able to see,” Nunes told Hannity.
During his interview Thursday evening, Nunes praised Attorney General William Barr as the “adult” who is “driving the media crazy” by sticking to the facts. Barr worked with Mueller for the past few weeks to redact sensitive information in the report and preceded its release with a press conference, which irked Democrats and some pundits who were concerned he was trying to spin its findings before the public got a chance to read them.
Nunes also said “real action” needs to be taken to stop FBI overreach in the future. Last week, Nunes sent a notification letter to Barr saying his team “identified several potential violations of the law” as part of an investigation into origins of the Trump-Russia investigation and hopes to set up a meeting to discuss eight criminal referrals.
Nunes’ criminal referrals, which include two related to charges of conspiracy to lie to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, came together as Mueller concluded his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Mueller’s report did not find evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in its election interference efforts, but it did not reach a conclusion on whether the Trump team obstructed justice.