Wow, so for some time, the mainstream media had been telling me that the FBI and DOJ, during the Obama administration, never did any surveillance of the Trump campaign at the request of the Democrats. But whenever anyone asked them to release information about the basis for their investigations of Trump, they wouldn’t reveal anything.
But Judicial Watch was on the case, and they finally managed to get heavily redacted copies of documents showing what the FBI and DOJ were doing during the election.
The basis of the FBI and DOJ surveillance of Trump campaign personnel was the Steele dossier, which was collected for Fusion GPS, a Democrat opposition research firm.
Fox News explains:
On four occasions, the FBI told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court that it “did not believe” former British spy Christopher Steele was the direct source for a Yahoo News article implicating former Trump aide Carter Page in Russian collusion, newly released documents reveal.
Instead, the FBI suggested to the court, the September 2016 article by Michael Isikoff was independent corroboration of the salacious, unverified allegations against Trump in the infamous Steele Dossier. Federal authorities used both the Steele Dossier and Yahoo News article to convince the FISA court to authorize a surveillance warrant for Page.
But London court records show that contrary to the FBI’s assessments, Steele briefed Yahoo News and other reporters in the fall of 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS — the opposition research firm behind the dossier.
The revelations are contained in heavily-redacted documents released over the weekend after a Freedom of Information lawsuit by the organization Judicial Watch.
The materials released by the DOJ include an October 2016 application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to wiretap Page as well as several renewal applications.
So, there was only one source used as the basis for the surveillance warrant request: Steele’s dossier. The articles that appeared in the mainstream media was all based on Steele himself.
Conservative Review has more on what was in the released FBI and DOJ memos:
Over 400 pages of documents related to the FISA court warrant applications to surveil former Trump campaign operative Carter Page have been released. Now we know for certain: The unverified “Steele dossier” was used as evidence to get a warrant to spy on Page.
Though heavily redacted, the documents make clear that the FBI told the FISA court Page is a Russian agent who was betraying the United States. The dossier, which was funded by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, served as the first piece of evidence cited to allege Page coordinated with the Russians to influence the election. The FBI cited additional evidence, an article written by Michael Isikoff for Yahoo news, but failed to disclose that Isikoff received his information from Christopher Steele, the ex-British spy who authored the dossier.
What does that mean? It means that the FBI presented unverified campaign opposition research to FISA court judges to spy on Page, and the judges signed off on the applications.
So, who paid for the Steele dossier?
The far-left Washington Post explains:
The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.
Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.
After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.
The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.
The FBI and DOJ didn’t tell the FISA court about who was funding the Steele dossier when they applied for the warrant. Because if they had, they would have been denied the warrant. No FISA court would approve surveillance of the Republican party if the sole basis for the warrant was uncorroborated opposition research funded by the Democrat party. In order to get the FISA warrant, the request had to be written in such a way that the funding of the Steele dossier was not revealed, and Steele was not declared to be the source of the news articles used as corroborating evidence.