Congressman Peter King believes the FBI was dishonest with the FISA court when obtaining a warrant to spy on Donald Trump’s campaign team.
The New York Republican offered a scathing rebuke of the FBI’s actions in a recent interview on “The Cats Roundtable” on 970 AM-N.Y.
“A warrant to wiretap in a presidential campaign … to be spying on that based on a phony report is just unconscionable; it’s unacceptable,” King said Sunday, as reported by Newsmax.
Key details of the warrant have been made public following the Friday release of a GOP memo from the House Intelligence Committee, of which King is a member.
Declassified information from the memo raises questions of federal surveillance abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department.
Namely, the four-page memo noted that its findings “raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)” and “represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process.”
The memo reveals that the FBI was able to obtain a surveillance warrant from the FISA court by providing information gathered by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm paid by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign team.
Fusion GPS relied on information reconnaissance from Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who was openly hostile to the idea of a Trump presidency. Steele was behind the anti-Trump dossier that alleged numerous debunked claims about the president.
When requesting the spy warrant, the FBI did not inform the FISA court that the information provided was compiled from partisan sources.
“They never told the court that — they never said — that the Democratic National Committee paid for this,” King told radio host John Catsimatidis.
“They never said the Hillary Clinton campaign was involved in it. They never brought that out at all.”
The New York Republican criticized what he claimes was “circular reasoning” from the FBI to the FISA court — “the most secret court in America.” He argued that such a warrant should have required “extraordinary evidence,” not a dossier compiled by a partisan firm.
“They also never brought out the fact that Christopher Steele, who wrote the (dossier), that he had actually been on the FBI payroll,” King said.
The “circular reasoning” brought up by King was a key factor in the FBI’s successful application for a spy warrant.
When providing the FISA court with sufficient evidence for the warrant, the bureau relied on information from the dossier — compiled by Fusion GPS and Steele — and news reports about the dossier — leaked by Steele.
“You had the dossier and you had newspaper reports and they were all tied together, and they were used to show that there was a consensus that there was Russia involvement in the campaign,” King explained.
The Republican lawmaker reminded Catsimatidis that there is no consensus on Trump campaign collusion with Russia — except for the politically motivated dossier.
“I’ve been involved with this now for the last 18 months, and I have not seen one bit of evidence of any collusion at all between the Trump campaign and Russia,” he said.
“Listen, if you wanted to make a case, there was more possibility of the Russians being involved in the Hillary Clinton campaign. So many Russians had paid money to Bill Clinton and also the Clinton Foundation,” he added.
“But I wouldn’t be in support of that either. That is not a basis to be investigating (with) a warrant to wiretap in a presidential campaign.”
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