This could be big. If spying was begun before an investigation was officially launched on July 31st, 2016, then it will be really important to know when it started and who gave the order to do the spying.
There are only a few with the power to do so. Andrew McCabe, James Comey, Loretta Lynch or Barack Obama. If the investigation began before July 31st, then it was likely a dirty campaign trick since the FBI claimed they started their investigation because of information was given to them by Alexander Downer at the very end of July.
Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said in an interview with The Hill
“It’s one of the outstanding questions that we have for the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. We’ve had that question out to them for pretty much three months now. They have not answered it yet,” Nunes told The Hill’s Buck Sexton.
“Is it your belief it is likely that there was activity going on in advance of the start of that official FBI investigation?” Sexton asked.
“I will just tell you we wouldn’t be asking those questions if we didn’t think we had some suspicion of that,” Nunes responded. “The problem with this is, running informants into political campaigns, or political campaign actors on the counterintelligence side especially, is a major problem.”
“It’s because we give special powers to our counterintelligence officials because really a lot of Americans’ basic rights are taken away through that process because it’s dealing with national security, it’s usually high level,” he continued.
“So there should be a very high bar before you open up a counterintelligence investigation. So, if you are running informants into campaigns before or after you open an official investigation, most Americans, when you sit them down and talk to them, they know that that’s something really bad and that only happens in third world countries,” he said.
In the same interview, Nunes said that although the redacted FISA applications are bad, what they redacted is much worse.