Author: Karoun Demirjian

Republicans vote to release memo alleging FBI missteps in surveillance of Trump campaign operative

The House Intelligence Committee voted Monday to release a memo detailing alleged surveillance abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department, escalating a political fight between conservatives and the nation’s intelligence agencies. The vote, which proceeded along party lines in the Republican-controlled committee, means that President Trump now has up to five days to review the material and decide whether to keep it secret, though he could agree to the release anytime before that deadline. If he does nothing, the committee can release the memo publicly. The Justice Department and the FBI are likely to lobby Trump in the...

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Bannon subpoenaed by special counsel and House committee to testify on Russia probes

By Karoun Demirjian, Carol D. Leonnig and Rosalind S. Helderman, Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s office has subpoenaed former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon to appear before a grand jury, a move that indicates his broad investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign is far from wrapping up. The subpoena was issued last week, according to a person familiar with the situation, who said that Bannon expects to be able to persuade the special counsel’s office to accept a voluntary interview of Bannon by prosecutors in place of a grand jury appearance. The news of...

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Congress pushes spy bill renewal to January, but a bitter debate still looms

By Karoun Demirjian, Congress voted Thursday to give itself an extra three weeks to settle bitter differences over how to reauthorize one of the government’s most prized foreign intelligence-gathering tools, but the last-minute move has done little to reconcile competing concerns about the need to maintain powerful spy capabilities and Americans’ right to privacy. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are united over how to limit the authority to conduct foreign surveillance on U.S. soil, particularly when it comes to the question of when law enforcement officials can scour the collected surveillance for information about Americans. Privacy advocates in both parties have been in a months-long dispute with national security hawks over whether law enforcement officials should have to obtain warrants or simply clear procedural hurdles before viewing Americans’ communications collected under the program. And even with more time to talk, few seem ready to abandon their positions in the new year. Lawmakers approved a short-term extension of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008 with little fanfare this week, after a frenzied but failed push to rally support for a longer-term measure that would have modified how law enforcement officials search a database of collected information for Americans’ communications. House GOP members of the Freedom Caucus huddled with senior members of the Intelligence Committee in the office of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Wednesday to...

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