President Trump has been receiving classified information about the Russia investigation from the House Intelligence Committee as he reviews and declassifies evidence being used in a probe that could implicate him and his campaign team, raising concerns about a potential conflict of interest.
In their attempts to either chide or defend the Justice Department’s handling of the investigation, the House panel’s majority and minority members have written two separate memos describing a highly classified application submitted by the FBI to obtain a surveillance warrant targeting early Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The Republicans’ memo claims the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when applying for a warrant in October 2016 to surveil Page. The Democrats’ memo insists the bureau acted properly.
The memos were sent to the White House to declassify, in effect putting Trump, who is a subject of the ongoing investigation, in charge of evidence that could potentially be used against him—further blurring a line between the White House and the Justice Department that previous administrations have been wary of crossing.
“The situation is, as far as I know, unprecedented,” said Paul Rosenzweig, a former Department of Homeland Security official who founded Red Branch Consulting and serves as a senior fellow at the conservative R Street Institute. “Never before has a president been tied to a FISA warrant application. In fact, as far as I know, no president has ever been tied to any warrant application—not FISA, not a search warrant and not a Title III wiretap. So this is unique.”