The Democrat members of the House Intelligence Committee’s memo to dispute the Republican members’ analysis of the FISC approval of FBI surveillance of a Trump campaign member has been released. So what did it prove?
Let’s be kind and call it the “long awaited” response to allegations the FBI abused its surveillance powers during the 2016 election. I know I wasn’t waiting for this “whitewash,” but the left-wing media certainly was and couldn’t agree more that the Democrat National Committee and the Clinton Campaign weren’t scoundrels.
However, the Democrat memo actually supports the premise that the FBI abused its surveillance powers and did so in favor of the Democrat candidate (what’s her name).
[Source: Democrats for eavesdrop abuse, by The Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal]
I am confident many of my readers slogged through the 10-page memo that announced “The FBI and DOJ officials did not ‘abuse’ the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process, omit material information, or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign.” Unfortunately, they DID and the Democrat memo proves it.
The Democrats freely admit that the FBI used the infamous “Trump dossier” (unconfirmed opposition-research that was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee) to surveil Carter Page (a person associated with the Donald Trump campaign). Their argument boils down to the contention the memo wasn’t the only evidence submitted. The degree that the memo was relied upon by the FBI is irrelevant, THEY USED IT!
[From the WSJ Editorial] If the FBI had as much “compelling evidence” and “probable cause” as the memo asserts, it would not have needed to cite the Steele document. And the Democrats do not dispute that the Steele dossier was the FBI’s only source in its initial FISA application for its allegation that Mr. Page met with suspect Russians in Moscow in July 2016.
The Democratic memo makes no attempt to rebut the widely reported news that former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told Congress that the FBI would not have sought a surveillance warrant without the dossier. Democratic Rep. Jim Himes claimed on “Fox News Sunday” that Mr. McCabe never said that, but then why not put that in the memo?
The Democratic memo also confirms that the FBI withheld from the court the partisan provenance of the dossier. Democrats even provide, for the first time in public, the precise language the FBI used in its initial application in a long, obfuscating footnote.
Democrats say the FBI told the FISA court that a “law firm” [Clinton/DNC firm Perkins Coie] hired “an identified U.S. person” [oppo-research firm Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson ] to “conduct research regarding Candidate #1s ties to Russia.” The “identified U.S. person” then hired “Source #1” [Mr. Steele] to do the research. The footnote ends: “The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.”
Speculates? Likely? Could? The dossier was paid for by actors whose overriding purpose was to defeat Mr. Trump. Nowhere do Democrats say the FBI used the words “political” or “partisan” or “campaign,” much less Clinton or Democratic National Committee.
The Democratic memo claims the FBI acted “appropriately” in not “revealing” the name of an “entity” in a FISA application, but this is laughable. The FBI sometimes masks identities to preserve sources and methods, but the Steele dossier was a pastiche of gossip and rumor based on Mr. Steele’s contacts. Disclosing his partisan funders would have betrayed no important intelligence sources but would have given the court reason to ask the FBI for more credible information before granting an eavesdrop order.
Messrs. Steele and Simpson briefed their media friends in September and October about their dossier, despite FBI prohibitions. The FBI nonetheless falsely told the court that Mr. Steele wasn’t the source of a Yahoo News article that it used as additional evidence in its application…
Democrats also make much of the fact the FBI started looking into the Trump campaign in July 2016 but didn’t receive “Steele’s reporting” until “mid-September.” So what? The issue here is the fairness and honesty of the FISA application in late October (not the investigation), and what matters is that the FBI didn’t move on the FISA application until after it received the dossier.
As the WSJ Editorial Board rightfully points out, imagine the CNN, NBC, ABC, New York Times and Washington Post reporting had the rolls been reversed!
And thanks to HP for sending this to me.