In search of the origin

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has sought documents and information bearing on the origin of the Trump-Russia counterintelligence investigation. The official origin of the probe is dated July 31, 2016, yet the FBI had its wheels in spin well before then. At RealClearPolitics Lee Smith has now set forth “The Mysterious Seven Preludes of the FBI’s Trump-Russia Probe.”

The House subpoenaed relevant documents. The Department of Justice dragged its feet. Agreed deadlines were set. One such came this past Friday afternoon when the FBI sent a classified letter disclosing whether it had used top-secret confidential informants in the Trump campaign prior to opening its investigation into Russian meddling. According to the FOX News report by Catherine Herridge and Greg Re, the FBI asserted that it outlined whether the “FBI utilized confidential human sources prior to the issuance of the Electronic Communication initiating that investigation.” They don’t tell us what the FBI said about its use of informants.

Herridge and Re add, however, that the FBI forwarded the House Republicans’ request for summaries and transcripts of any conversations between Trump officials and informants to the Director of National Intelligence (then James Clapper, now Dan Coats). Herridge and Re do not explain, and it is not apparent, what the DNI has to do with this.

Not surprisingly, Rep. Nunes was not appeased. He sought further response by 5:00 p.m. yesterday from the Department of Justice.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd responded on behalf of the department (letter below). According to Boyd, the department has complied. Any further concerns are to be addressed by the FBI.

The news reports on Boyd’s letter such as this Wall Street Journal article or this Washington Examiner report do not include any comment by Rep. Nunes.

Mark Meadows is not a member of the House Intelligence Committee, but he is certainly a well-informed observer. Rep. Meadows comments via Twitter: “The DOJ continues to insist they’ve complied with document requests when they blatantly have not. This letter is an art form in creative writing.” I’m giving Rep. Meadows the last word for the time being.

Response to 24 June Chairman Nunes Letter by Washington Examiner on Scribd