House Republicans are seeking to have emails declassified that reportedly offer “damning evidence” that former FBI Director James Comey and top Department of Justice officials knew of intelligence community concerns about the reliability of the infamous Trump dossier, but still used it to help obtain a FISA warrant to surveil the Trump campaign.
Investigative reporter John Solomon wrote in a Wednesday piece for The Hill that GOP lawmakers, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes of California, added a string of emails between the FBI and DOJ to a list of documents they want declassified. The list was submitted to President Donald Trump just before Thanksgiving.
“Sources tell me the targeted documents may provide the most damning evidence to date of potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, evidence that has been kept from the majority of members of Congress for more than two years,” Solomon wrote.
FBI email chain may provide most damning evidence of FISA abuses yet https://t.co/cldwE7ty4D
— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) December 5, 2018
The email exchanges from October 2016 reportedly include Comey, key FBI investigators on the Russia probe, and bureau attorneys. The messages were sent just prior to the FBI successfully securing a FISA warrant to surveil 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,” Solomon wrote.
If the FBI knew the dossier had reliability issues, then Comey, who signed off on the FISA application, and others in the bureau who presented to the FISA court committed a “serious breach” of the tribunal’s regulations, according to Solomon.
He explained that FISA court regulations required the FBI to certify that the “evidence is verified, and to alert the judges to any flaws in its evidence or information that suggest the target might be innocent.”
Comey is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee behind closed doors on Friday, where the topic of the FISA warrant is almost certain to be raised, Politico reported.
The former FBI director fought the subpoena issued by outgoing House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.
Comey’s attorney filed a motion to quash the subpoena in federal district court in Washington, D.C., late last week, arguing the subpoena was politically motivated, but reached an agreement on Sunday for his client to appear if a transcript of the meeting is made public.
Goodlatte issued a statement in response, arguing Comey was trying to “run out the clock” before the Democrats take over in January.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” that Comey and others involved in surveilling Trump’s campaign “operated on a premise and, of course, they all thought Hillary was going to win. So they never thought this would come to light. They thought they were helping the winner.”
Responding directly to Solomon’s article, Gingrich noted, “You had the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation actively trying to destroy a presidential candidate.”
“You have the former head of the FBI, Bob Mueller, actively trying to destroy the president of the United States,” Gingrich added. “And I know it’s frustrating but the fact is, this is a clear-cut drama. They hate him, they want to destroy him, it has nothing to do with the truth and nothing to do with the law.”
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