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As House Democrats ramp up their investigations of President Trump in the wake of the revelations of the Mueller Report, congressional Republicans are seeking do to the same, with a boost from an unexpected source, legendary investigative reporter Bob Woodward.

Their targets: FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele.

Democrats were upset that Attorney General Barr used the word “spying” to describe surveillance the FBI did during its investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. They accused him of promoting a GOP talking point.

Variations of the spying charge have been made before and refuted. In 2017 President Trump claimed falsely, that President Obama had order “spying” on Trump Tower. He was referring to the surveillance of Carter Page, a low-level Trump campaign adviser who had traveled to Russia

In fact, when FBI agents sought surveillance of Page they applied for a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. The court approved the warrant three times. All four judges who approved the warrants were appointed by Republican presidents. President Obama was not involved in the warrant applications or their approval.

Republicans want to re-litigate the point.

In a letter sent to the attorney general on Thursday, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) for a briefing on Barr’s review and cited text messages between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page that they described as exhibiting “potential attempts by the FBI to conduct surveillance of President-elect Trump’s transition team.”

Strzok and Page exchanged text messages critical of Trump and were removed from the investigation.

GOP lawmakers have also alleged the FBI abused its surveillance authority by relying on Steele’s dossier on Trump’s Russia connections, which was in part funded by Democrats, in making the FISA warrant applications. Some of the factual allegations in the dossier have been confirmed but the dossier’s central claim of a “well-developed conspiracy” of co-operation between Trump campaign and the Russian leadership was rejected by Mueller. The Mueller report called the dossier a set of “unverified allegations.”

In an interview with Fox News on April 21, Woodward described the dossier as “garbage…. Needs to be investigated.”

He may get his wish.

Source: GOP ready to step up spying case — The Hill