Memo: FBI Used Tainted Steele Dossier, Paid For By Hillary Clinton, As Reason To Spy On Trump | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

FBI Scandal: The controversial congressional memo that alleges abuse of the government’s surveillance program has now been released to the public. A close reading of the four-page document reveals potentially damning evidence that the FBI and Department of Justice used an anti-Trump dossier funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign as the basis for spying on the Trump campaign.

X GOP members of  the House Intelligence Committee, led by Chairman Devin Nunes, released the declassified memo Friday, but only after President Trump’s approval and after both DOJ and FBI protested release of the document, which served as the backbone of the government’s investigation into alleged collusion in the 2016 presidential campaign between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Not surprisingly, President Trump had an immediate hot take for his Twitter feed: “The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans — something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank & File are great people!”

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The memo’s findings are, at minimum, disturbing and, at worst, suggest the law was broken. Assuming the memo’s factual accuracy, it paints an unflattering picture of the Obama-era FBI and Justice Department and their conduct in investigating the Trump campaign. To wit:

  •  The DOJ and FBI asked for and received approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to spy on Carter Page, a fringe volunteer adviser to the Trump campaign on energy and foreign policy. The basis for the approval was the now-famous “dossier” on Donald Trump compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was working for the Fusion GPS political research firm. The dossier’s contents were used multiple times as grounds for surveilling Page, with then-FBI Director James Comey signing his name to three, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signing off on one. It was a group effort: Then-acting Deputy Attorney Generals Sally Yates and Dana Boente, along with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, all signed off on one or more of the requests.
  • Steele was paid $160,000 to create the Trump dossier for Fusion GPS. The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and Democratic National Committee financed the work. So the FBI and Justice Department used opposition research from a presidential campaign to launch an investigation into that campaign’s political opponent — a likely illegal use of federal government surveillance for political purposes.
  • The FBI also agreed to pay Steele for his dossier and other research, but rescinded the offer in October of 2016, shortly before the presidential election, after discovering that Steele had shared the dossier’s contents with journalists in a number of briefings, a violation of FBI rules. But neither the FBI nor Justice informed FISC that the information had in fact been paid for by the Democrats, which would have immediately raised doubts about the surveillance request’s legitimacy.
  • Steele, the memo claims, continued to talk to the Justice Department even after he was cut loose by the FBI through then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr. Ohr is key, since he worked closely with both Yates and Rosenstein and was a potential conduit into then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s office. More importantly, perhaps, Ohr’s wife, Nellie, is a former CIA researcher who was hired by Fusion GPS to collect anti-Trump material.
  • According to the memo, Steele relayed to Ohr that he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” None of that, apparently, was told to FISC when Justice and the FBI made their requests to spy on the Trump campaign.
  • The supposed justification for the application to FISC was a September 23, 2016 Yahoo News article by journalist Michael Isikoff purportedly detailing ties between Trump campaign representatives and Russian officials. The only problem is, Isikoff got all of his information from Steele’s so-called Trump dossier.

Let us stipulate that this memo is itself a partisan product of a Republican-dominated committee of Congress. Democrats, for their side of the matter, have their own memo and claim that essential facts have been omitted from the GOP’s. But none of the central facts of the memo, so far, have been disproved.

Being charitable, it’s possible to conclude that, during an intensely contentious presidential campaign, Obama administration Justice and FBI officials innocently sought FISA warrants against a peripheral Trump campaign volunteer based on a document they knew — or should have known — was paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. And that their decisions later to withhold information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court were equally innocent of any malicious political intent.

Even if you grant that very generous reading of the facts laid out in the memo, it’s clear there was at minimum a conflict of interest and, possibly, a violation of the 1939 Hatch Act, which forbids federal employees from political activities while on the job. If that weren’t the case, why would a spate of Justice and FBI officials — including McCabe and Ohr — be either demoted, reassigned or let go in recent weeks?

Yet, former FBI Chief James Comey, apparently vying for Twitter dominance over Trump, tweeted out: “That’s it? Dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the House intel committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community, damaged relationship with FISA court, and inexcusably exposed classified investigation of an American citizen. For what? DOJ & FBI must keep doing their jobs.”

Well, Comey’s disingenuous “That’s it?” includes the FBI colluding with a political party against another, while withholding material information from a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court about the source of its information and how it was paid for. Ethically questionable, certainly; illegal, quite possibly.

The House Intelligence Committee’s Democrats, in a statement, also criticized the memo: “The premise of the Nunes memo is that the FBI and DOJ corruptly sought a FISA warrant on a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, and deliberately misled the court as part of a systematic abuse of the FISA process … The FBI had good reason to be concerned about Carter Page and would have been derelict in its responsibility to protect the country had it not sought a FISA warrant.”

Claims that release of this memo was inappropriate or dangerous are absurd. No intelligence methods were revealed. No big secrets, just the facts of an investigation that has gone on too long and has been used by political opponents and their Deep State allies to weaken a presidency. And it certainly calls into question the tortuous, now year-and-a-half long investigation into alleged Trump-Russia collusion during the 2016 election, spearheaded by former FBI chief Robert Mueller.

As always with these issues, it’s useful to imagine turning it all on its head: That instead of Republicans, the Democrats had been spied upon; that a Republican presidential candidate had funded the research on which the spying was based; and that it was all part of a deep-dive investigation, again, instigated by the Republicans to tie the Democrats to various Russian officials and their efforts to subvert a U.S. election.

We would be told the nation was in grave danger. They would call it a silent coup. The liberal media would jump in. They would call it highly questionable and possibly illegal. And you know what? They might be right.


Democrats May Come To Regret Mueller Investigation Into Trump-Russia Ties

Fusion GPS’ ‘Fake Investigation’ — And Hillary Clinton’s Real Russian Collusion

As Investigations Of Misconduct Mount, Can Hillary Clinton Avoid Jail?

FBI Scandal: McCabe’s Resignation Is Only The Beginning

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Originally posted 2018-02-03 08:08:02.


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