GOP defies FBI, releases secret Russia memo
Full text of the memo with annotations
My notes: As I suspected, the entire memo is a bunch of insinuations without any basis in reality.
The main point is that the FBI's FISA warrant on Carter Page in October 2016 somehow shows some kind of anti-Trump bias because, golly gee, Carter Page was Trump's "foreign policy adviser."
(1) Even if the FBI somehow overreached in that case (which is, frankly, doubtful because of other misleading elements in the memo), the entire thing would be unrelated to Trump. Carter Page quit the Trump camp in summer. The warrant in question was issued several months LATER.
(2) Carter Page had actually been wiretapped by the FBI as early as 2014! The particular warrant mentioned in the memo was just the latest of many involving a shady character. (Warrants have an expiration date.)
(3) Following up on point two, the FBI did not originally decide to wiretap a guy who worked for Trump. Quite the opposite. Trump decided to hire a guy who was such a noted shady character that the FBI had already wiretapped him!
(4) The reason the FBI first got interested in wiretapping Page had nothing to do with the Steele dossier. They found out through their informants in 2013 that Russians were trying to recruit Page, and the Bureau was able to confirm this because they bugged some Russians and listened to their conversations about Page. ("Enthusiastic, but an idiot.")
(5) On top of all that, Trump knows full well that Page is a shady character and that surveillance of him was undoubtedly justified without relying on the controversial Steele dossier. This is why the campaign denied any connection to him, and Trump apologist Roger Stone made the rounds saying that Page had no influence on the campaign.
So, the Trump campaign said previously that it had no connection to Carter Page, and now they are claiming that the FBI's wiretap of Page is a demonstration of anti-Trump bias. How could both of those statements be true? Well, as is typical with Trump and his minions, both are actually false.
(1) Carter Page did have some contacts with many people in the Trump campaign before he became persona non grata. In a recorded presentation, Trump personally named him as a member of the foreign policy team.
(2) But that doesn't really matter because the FBI surveillance, as authorized by the October, 2016 FISA warrant, happened after Carter Page had broken all contact with the Trump camp, and had been formally disavowed by them.
(1) Any time somebody starts to complain about how evidence was obtained, it's a pretty safe guess that they don't like what the evidence reveals. (You don't really hear a lot of complaints from people who are exonerated by evidence improperly obtained.)
(2) The memo implies that the wiretaps were somehow partially based on the Steele dossier. It does not "complete the sentence." They could have been based on 4,000 pieces of evidence, one of which was the Steele Dossier. (And, by the way, the dossier seems to have been right.)
(3) In fact, Steele's own actions suggest that there is NOT an anti-Trump bias in the Bureau. According to the GPS testimony, Steele eventually went to the press because he first presented all of his findings to the FBI, and got very frustrated when they refused to act on his report. He stopped dealing with the FBI because he felt there was manipulation of the FBI by pro-Trump groups! (Glenn Simpson testimony, starting on page 179.) (For the record, I think Steele was wrong on this point. I think the FBI deliberately held off at that time because of the long-standing policy to stay away from influencing American elections. As soon as Page was no longer involved in the campaign, they swooped in to take action. Unfortunately, Comey kind of screwed the pooch on this somewhat later when he discussed the Weiner/Abedin evidence, which turned out to be innocuous. But Comey's actions right then and there demonstrated there was no anti-Trump bias. In fact, Comey contributed mightily to Trump's victory.)