What it all comes down to: evidence that was obtained in illegal surveillance would be inadmissible.
WASHINGTON D.C.- The nation is currently going through an impeachment fiasco that was initially started leading up to the 2016 election.
The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign paid a research firm, Fusion GPS and a former British spy, Christopher Steele, to compile a bogus dossier which implicated then candidate Trump and Russia in an apparent scheme to hijack the 2016 election.
The phony dossier, which was mostly unverified, was then used by the FBI as the main evidence to secure a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant, which targeted the Trump campaign in the final days leading up to the election.
John Solomon, investigative reporter for The Hill said that congressional investigators have confirmed that former FBI general counsel James Baker met in 2016 with at least one attorney from Perkins Cole, the DNC’s private law firm. That was the firm that paid Fusion GPS and Steele.
When the FBI submitted the application to the FISA court in 2016, they knew or should have known that the dossier was connected to the DNC’s primary law firm and was being used as research by the DNC to defeat Trump.
Yet, the FBI failed to disclose that information to the FISA court in October 2016, when they applied for a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance on Carter Page, Trump’s campaign adviser.
Solomon says that one of his sources says that the above shows that the real collusion in 2016 was not between Trump and Russia, but rather between the FBI and Trump’s opposition—the DNC, Hillary Clinton and Christopher Steele, who is reported to have hated Trump.
Now, it has finally come out that the authority granted by the FISA court to secretly wiretap and spy on Carter Page was “not valid.” In a secret ruling from earlier this month, Judge James Boasberg, the current presiding judge over the FISA court, said that at least two of the four FISA applications against Carter Page were unlawfully authorized.
Additionally, the Department of Justice also concluded following the release of a wide-ranging investigative report on the matter by the inspector general that the government did not have probable cause that Page was in fact acting as an agent of a foreign power.
FISA statutes state that American citizens cannot be secretly spied on by the United States government absent probable cause, based on valid evidence, that an American is unlawfully acting as a foreign agent.
“DOJ assesses that with respect to the applications in Docket Numbers 17-375 and 16-679, ‘if not earlier, there was insufficient predication to establish probable cause to believe that [Carter] Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power.’”
This was in reference to the final two of four FISA applications to spy on Page.
“The Court understands the government to have concluded, in view of the material misstatements and omissions, that the Court’s authorizations in Docket Numbers 17-375 and 17-679 were not valid.”
Boasberg did not address in his ruling whether DOJ had taken a position on the validity of the first two applications against Page but was currently collecting information to assess whether those two spy applications were also invalid.
Now here is where it gets interesting. The invalid applications referred to by Boasberg were dated April 7 and June 29 of 2017. The invalid April 7 application was signed by none other than by former FBI Director James Comey, while the invalid June 29 application was signed by Andrew McCabe.
Both Comey and McCabe were referred for criminal prosecution by the inspector general.
In addition, former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who offered to wear a wire against President Trump, also signed off on the false FISA warrant of June 29 against Carter Page.
The FISA court order by Boasberg also noted that it is a federal crime for any federal official to “intentionally…disclose, or use information obtained under color of law by electronic surveillance, knowing or having any reason to know that the information was obtained through electronic surveillance not authorized” by law.
The next sentence in Boasberg’s ruling was redacted, which raises questions about whether the government used any information obtained pursuant to the now invalid Page surveillance warrants in other cases.
Remember, we are currently undergoing an impeachment of the president where part and parcel of the Democrats’ “case” against Trump is so-called “Russian collusion,” which tens of millions of dollars, thousands of man hours and hundreds of investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller were unable to uncover any evidence of said collusion by the Trump campaign.
Yet, even though neither of the impeachment articles against the president mention anything about collusion, both Adam Schiff and Gerry Nadler spent time during their diatribes talking about it.
The final warrant against Carter Page was sought at the same time that Mueller was conducting his investigation. The final three-month authorization to spy on page was signed nearly six weeks after Mueller was appointed, which means it is possible that Mueller had access to and utilized nearly five months-worth of surveillance of Page during the course of his investigation.
If Mueller’s office used any of the information in subsequent cases, under “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine, the declaration by Boasberg that the final two spy warrants against Page were invalid could possibly nullify previous or future convictions under Mueller’s investigation.
The provisions of FISA do not limit surveillance to only the individual targeted. The government may also surveil individuals with whom the target communicates.
The rule that allows this is called the “two-hop” rule, which allows the government to spy on and collect information and communications from individuals who are two degrees separated from the actual target of the investigation.
What this means is that even if Carter Page never personally spoke to then-candidate Trump, the government could still have eavesdropped on Trump’s conversations if Page spoke to someone who had either spoken to or electronically communicated with Trump.
It is not known if the government used the “two-hop” process on Page to try to gather information from Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, or from former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, or potentially President Trump himself.
In his January 7 order, Boasberg directed the DOJ to retain and sequester all information and evidence related to both the Carter Page applications, the inspector general investigation of FISA abuse, and any additional DOJ investigations either related to or derived from the inspector general’s report. All relevant information is to be provided by the DOJ to the FISA court by January 28.
Last month, Rosemary Collyer, the former presiding judge on the FISA court publicly rebuked the FBI and ordered the agency to say how it intends to correct the errors made in seeking the FISA warrants for Carter Page.
This came in response to Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report that said the FBI made “serious and repeated mistakes” in seeking to conduct surveillance of Carter Page under FISA. The FBI’s submissions to the court made assertions that were “inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation,” the report said.
Collyer said the FBI’s handling of the Page case “was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor” required by the law that established the surveillance court. Judges on the FISA court rely completely on the government’s submissions, and because those are the only documents the court sees, the government has a higher duty of candor, she said.
Buckle up people. The Democrats will really lose their minds if this ruling somehow overturns the convictions of President Trump’s inner circle.
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