National Review columnist and former U.S. attorney Andrew McCarthy determined that House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff’s memo does more harm than good to the California Democrat’s cause of trying to justify the Obama administration’s surveillance of Donald Trump presidential campaign associates.
McCarthy argued in his piece published over the weekend that Schiff’s memo corroborates the central claim of the Republican memo authored primarily by Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes that the FBI and the Department of Justice failed to reveal to the FISA court that the Trump dossier — presented as the key piece of evidence — was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee.
“(A) major takeaway from the Schiff memo is that the FBI and the DOJ withheld from the FISA court the fact that (Michael) Steele’s (dossier) was a project of the Clinton campaign,” wrote McCarthy.
“Naturally, the reader must ferret this admission out of a couple of dense paragraphs, in which Democrats risibly claim that the “DOJ was transparent with the Court about Steele’s sourcing,” he continued.
McCarthy pointed out in the DOJ’s FISA application that the agency made it abundantly clear Trump’s campaign was the focus of the surveillance, referring to him as “Candidate #1” who “might have ties to Russia.”
However, rather than referring to the commissioner of the work as “Candidate 2” as the DOJ easily could have done, thereby making it readily discernible to the judge that Clinton was behind the dossier, the agency identified its origin as a “U.S. based law firm.”
Perkins-Coie was the firm hired by Clinton and the DNC to obtain the dossier from Steele via the opposition research firm Fusion GPS.
The DOJ knew all of this, but withheld that information from the FISA court.
Further, McCarthy noted the DOJ wrote in its application: “The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.”
The columnist questioned in response, “(W)hy would the FBI ‘speculate’ that a political motive was ‘likely’ involved when, in reality, the FBI well knew that a very specific political motive was precisely involved?”
“It is disingenuous to tell a judge that something is ‘likely’ when, in fact, it is beyond any doubt,” argued McCarthy.
The former prosecutor also went on to shoot down the notion contained in Schiff’s memo that simply because four different judges ordered the renewal of the FISA warrant on Trump campaign associate Carter Page, there was credible evidence he was someone worthy of being surveilled.
“In criminal surveillance orders, for example, it is common for prosecutors to bring renewal applications back to the same judge who authorized the original surveillance,” he wrote. “That judge presumably knows the case better and is thus in a superior position to detect any irregularities.”
McCarthy observed that even if FISA courts do not function along the same lines, the failure to disclose the Clinton and DNC origins of the dossier was simply committed on four separate occasions.
“If a judge was not made aware of material facts, the judge’s authorization of a warrant does not validate the derelict application,” he argued.
In a tweet on Saturday, Trump described the release of the Democrat memo as a “bust” only confirming that there were government surveillance abuses in relation to his campaign.
Nunes released a point-by-point response to Schiff’s memo that same day.
The congressman said, “The American people now clearly understand that the FBI used political dirt paid for by the Democratic Party to spy on an American citizen from the Republican Party.”
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