Devin Nunes
Devin Nunes Reuters

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Friday released a previously classified memo claiming that the Department of Justice (DOJ) abused critical surveillance authorities in order to damage President Donald Trump's campaign, reported The Hill.

Trump declassified the document earlier on Friday without redactions, despite fierce public objections to the move from the FBI, which warned that the memo contained “material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

The four-page document, drafted by staff for Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), lays out a series of allegations that it says "raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."

The memo asserts that the Justice Department was fractured by bias against Trump while he was a candidate, though it does not specify any particular criminal statutes that may have been violated.

“The Committee has discovered serious violations of the public trust, and the American people have a right to know when officials in crucial institutions are abusing their authority for political purposes," Nunes said in a statement.

The memo accuses senior officials at the Department of Justice of inappropriately using a piece of opposition research into Trump during the presidential race to obtain surveillance warrants on transition team members as part of the federal investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.

According to the document, information from the so-called Steele dossier was "essential" to the acquisition of surveillance warrants on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. It claims that then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the committee in December that without the information from the Steele dossier, no surveillance warrant for Page would have been sought.

The memo alleges that the political origins of the dossier — partially paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) — were not disclosed to the clandestine court that signed off on the warrant request.

The document also claims that although the FBI had "clear evidence" that the author of the dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele, was biased against then-candidate Trump, it did not convey this to the surveillance court when making its warrant applications. The document alleges that Steele told then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr that he "was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president."

Democrats on the Intelligence Committee slammed the document as "mischaracteriz[ing] highly sensitive classified information that few Members of Congress have seen" and "fail[ing] to provide vital context and information contained in DOJ's FISA application and renewals", reported The Hill.

The release of the document was set in motion earlier this week, when Intelligence Committee Republicans, led by Nunes, leveraged an obscure House rule never before used by the committee to override the classification of their document. They argued that its findings were serious enough to warrant public disclosure.

Trump, who approved the release of the memo on Friday, called its findings “a disgrace.”

"A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves," he said, according to The Hill.

The FBI, for its part, warned that it had “grave concerns” about the accuracy of the document.

"The FBI takes seriously its obligations to the FISA Court and its compliance with procedures overseen by career professionals in the Department of Justice and the FBI," the FBI said in its statement. "We are committed to working with the appropriate oversight entities to ensure the continuing integrity of the FISA process."

Former FBI Director James Comey, meanwhile, blasted the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee over the release of the memo alleging the Department of Justice abused a surveillance program on Friday.

“That’s it? Dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the House intel committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community, damaged relationship with FISA court, and inexcusably exposed classified investigation of an American citizen. For what? DOJ & FBI must keep doing their jobs,” he tweeted.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)