Published: Tue, January 30, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Merle Christensen

Secret memo hints GOP could be targeting Deputy AG Rosenstein, report says

Secret memo hints GOP could be targeting Deputy AG Rosenstein, report says

The memo also mentions that when they were initially seeking a warrant to begin surveilling Page, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department did not fully explain to an intelligence court judge that they were acting based on information uncovered by former British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous but still unconfirmed dossier detailing Trump's alleged connections to Russian Federation.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein approved to extend surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page shortly after assuming office last spring, the New York Times reported, citing people familiar with a secret Republican memo. The White House said Monday it plans to review the document.

Critics argue Republicans could be using the memo to try and undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign and alleged Russian interference in the election, if Rosenstein's decision to approve the surveillance renewal wasn't properly vetted. Trump would have five days to try to block their effort, potentially setting up a high-stakes standoff between the president and his Justice Department, which opposes its immediate release.

Democrats, as well as the Justice Department, have warned that releasing the memo to the public would be "extraordinarily reckless", although the leaks of the memo to the Times makes those claims dubious.

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It has also been reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department obtained a FISA warrant against Page in 2014. Trump told The New York Times in an interview in July that he was unhappy with Rosenstein. "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".

It could also be the case, multiple experts said, that Trump hopes firing the deputy attorney general will allow him to appoint someone more amenable in Rosenstein's place. "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 popped up on investigators' radar a year before after several Russian spies made contact with him in what may have been a recruitment attempt.

"This is exactly an example of how this memo is inaccurate and misleading", Rangappa said.

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