Based upon previously released material such as the January 2018 Grassley-Graham criminal referral letter, the Nunes Memo which was released in February 2018, and the heavily redacted, but still useful, FISA documents, we had a pretty good idea that the Steele dossier was the central document upon which the Russian collusion case was based.
Last night, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) appeared on the Hannity show and following a discussion of the hearings initiated by House Democrats this week, he revealed that he had finally seen the August 2017 Special Counsel scope memo. This memo, written by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, outlined the parameters of Mueller’s mission. It also came three months after the investigation began.
Although Nunes couldn’t disclose any details contained in the scope memo, he said, “That dirty dossier permeated all the way through ultimately to the special counsel and I’ll close with this tonight. That is that I was finally able to see the scope memo and remember, I had these concerns that it was based upon the Steele dossier and look, I can’t talk about what’s in there, but we know from what Judge Sullivan put out. We know that it was probably largely based on the Steele dossier.” (Nunes’ remarks about the scope memo begin at 22:00 in the video below.)
I’m not sure what he meant by “probably.” I assume he isn’t at liberty to divulge specifics.
Nunes’ mention of “what Judge Sullivan put out” refers to the redacted copy of the scope memo which was released during the Paul Manafort trial. It can be viewed here.
The redacted version of the memo authorized Mueller “to investigate Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election and related matters.”
It addresses Paul Manafort:
Allegations that Paul Manafort:
Committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials with respect to the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 election for President of the United States, in violation of United States law;
Committed a crime or crimes arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government before and during the tenure of President Viktor Yanukovych.”
to investigate “four sets of allegations” regarding former national security adviser Michael Flynn. It also granted Mueller approval to investigate whether Papadopoulos, another Trump aide, was working as an agent for Israel.
The rest of the document is redacted. According to The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross, the redacted portions address former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and former junior Trump campaign advisor, George Papadopoulos.
Ross wrote: “The memo authorized Mueller to investigate “four sets of allegations” regarding Flynn. It also granted Mueller approval to investigate whether Papadopoulos was working as an agent for Israel.”