This week, investigative journalist John Solomon broke some potentially major news about the origins of the Russia investigation that could shed new light on the FISA abuses that the FBI and the Justice Department engaged in during the later months of 2016.
In a column for The Hill, Solomon noted that House Republicans had once again urged President Trump to declassify a cache of documents so that the American people can see for themselves the inner workings of this political witch hunt. But this time, he writes, they included something new in the request.
From The Hill:
Just before Thanksgiving, House Republicans amended the list of documents they’d like President Trump to declassify in the Russia investigation. With little fanfare or explanation, the lawmakers, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), added a string of emails between the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to their wish list.
Sources tell me the targeted documents may provide the most damning evidence to date of potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), evidence that has been kept from the majority of members of Congress for more than two years.
The email exchanges included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division, and they occurred in early to mid-October, before the FBI successfully secured a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The email exchanges show the FBI was aware — before it secured the now-infamous warrant — that there were intelligence community concerns about the reliability of the main evidence used to support it: the Christopher Steele dossier.
Big if true, as they like to say these days.
Not only would this give us a new perspective on how the FBI viewed the intelligence provided to them by the Hillary Clinton campaign, it would – more damningly – show that top officials had every reason in the world to explain in great detail their reservations about the dossier to the FISA court.
Well, every reason except one: They wanted that surveillance go-ahead on American citizen Carter Page. And they knew that if they came right out and admitted to the court that they didn’t trust Christopher Steele farther than they could throw him, their chances of getting that warrant would plummet. So they downplayed it, hid it in footnotes, and counted on the FISA court doing what it does 99% of the time: rubber stamping the warrant and letting them spy on whomever they want.
Trump has made it clear that he’s holding these the de-classified documents as leverage over House Democrats, who want to spend the next two years investigating every detail of Trump’s personal, professional, and political life. He said in an interview last month that he would not hesitate to release them if Democrats pushed him far enough over the edge.
We hate to root for that outcome, but we really – really – want a look at these emails.