Did bureau lie to spy on members of Trump campaign?
The words “FBI investigation” have struck terror in the heart of many a wrong-doer over the years.
Now, however, it could mean an investigation of the FBI.
Specifically, whether its interaction with the secret court that must approve surveillance operations constituted illegal acts.
The chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., is asking the head of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to determine whether the FBI engaged in misconduct, such as lying, to surveil members of President Trump’s 2016 campaign.
“As the Presiding Judge of the FISC … you are privy to information which could potentially verify or contradict our understanding of abuses of the FISA process,” he wrote to Judge Rosemay Collyer.
“Ultimately, to protect the integrity of the process, we believe such an investigation is necessary,” he said.
“We write to encourage you to investigate the possibility FISA has recently been weaponized for political means.”
The court issued warrants several times to spy on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.
But the House Intelligence Committee found that the FBI and the Justice Department used the so-called “dossier” of unsubstantiated opposition research as primary evidence to obtain the warrant.
The dossier was created by an ex-British spy on the payroll of a company funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Meadows is on a congressional task force investigating the FBI review of “possible collusion” between the campaign and Russia.
No evidence of collusion has been found, and the only convictions that have come from Robert Mueller’s special counsel’s office have been on procedural counts.
Daily Caller News Foundation reported Republicans so far are focusing on the FBI’s requests for four FISA warrants against Page issued from October 2016 to June 2017.
To obtain the warrants, the FBI was required to provide probable cause that the target of the warrant was acting as an agent of a foreign power.
In his letter to Collyer, Meadows said the dossier contained “hearsay evidence” and other Republicans have noted that much of its contents were unverified at the time the FBI cited it in its FISA applications.
The dossier’s author, Christopher Steele, claimed Page met secretly with two sanctioned Russians in 2016 and was the Trump campaign’s “back channel to the Kremlin.”
No evidence has been made public that supports the accusations.
Meadows wrote: “Over the course of our congressional task force’s review into certain investigative and prosecutorial decisions made by the FBI and broader Department of Justice surrounding the 2016 elections, concerns have mounted related to the veracity of information presented before the FISC.”
Part of the problem is that the FBI concealed from the FISA court the fact that the dossier was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign.
Meadows said the obvious concern is that the court “may not have lived up to the Constitution’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.”