The release of documents relating to the FBI’s surveillance of then-Trump presidential campaign advisor Carter Page reveals many things. While the documents do not advance the Democratic Party narrative that Carter Page did anything illegal, nor that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump “colluded” with the Russians to alter the outcome of the 2016 election, they may pose a problem for FBI agent and partisan Democrat Peter Strzok.
The 412 heavily redacted pages obtained by news organizations and Judicial Watch under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request included applications made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) made to obtain warrants to surveil Page. The documents show that the warrants were obtained in October 2016 by the Obama administration’s Justice Department and FBI, using a now-discredited fake “Russia dossier,” which was paid for by the Clinton presidential campaign.
Not only did former FBI Director James Comey sign the FISA applications despite this fact, so did Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. And Rosenstein, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation into allegations that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians to sway the presidential election to Trump’s favor, chose Robert Mueller, a Comey friend, as a “special counsel” to investigate the allegations of Russian collusion.
As incredible as Rosenstein’s obvious conflict of interest is — asking a FISA court to issue surveillance warrants on an American presidential candidate using material provided by his principal opponent without informing the court of this pertinent fact — the role of Strzok, is, if anything, more unbelievable.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said it took a year to receive the documents they had requested under FOIA. Recently, Strzok told the House Judiciary and Oversight committees that he had nothing to do with obtaining the FISA warrants against Page. He swore under oath that he provided no substantive input on the application, arguing that he had not supplied any evidence for it and he was not involved in the presentation of the warrant request to the FISA Court.
Yet, the released documents led some observers to believe that he actually did have something to do with it. Investigative journalist Paul Sperry tweeted, “Newly released FISA application shows Strzok did in fact use Carter Page’s Sept. 2016 letter to Comey as a ‘pretext’ to open investigation on him, as Strzok suggested in email to Page in Sept re ‘Crossfire FISA.’ Yet Strzok just swore he had nothing to do with Page FISA.”
Unfortunately, blatant partisanship seems to be the order of the day. Rather than expressing outrage at how the rights of U.S. citizens have been abused and condemning Strzok for misleading a committee of the House of Representatives, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi somehow concluded that “these documents provide clear evidence of ‘Russia’s coordination with Carter Page,’ a high-ranking Trump campaign official, to undermine and improperly and illegally influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
In other words, Pelosi is arguing that Carter Page, who has still not been charged with anything, is guilty because of a warrant request based on a dossier bought and paid for by a political campaign in an attempt to dig up dirt on a political opponent. The so-called dossier, which contained unverified and salacious material, was compiled by a former British spy, Christopher Steele. The research firm behind Steele’s dossier was Fusion GPS, which in turn was funded by the Democratic National Committee and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. None of this pertinent information was provided to the FISA court, and none of it appears to bother Pelosi.
In the warrant request, the FBI nevertheless described the Steele dossier as “credible” and “reliable.”
While Page’s business relationships inside Russia were cited as a reason to investigate him, he has never been charged with anything. As President Trump tweeted, “Misled the Court to provide a pretext to SPY on the Trump Team. Not about Carter Page … was all about getting Trump.”
Even if Strzok is not charged with perjury for lying to Congress under oath, failure to punish federal law-enforcement officials for violating the civil rights of Page, in particular, and the “Trump Team” generally, would be a travesty. After all, the Fourth Amendment clearly does not allow law-enforcement officers to lie in obtaining a warrant: “The right of the people to be secure in their person, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.” (Emphasis added.)
Any law-enforcement officer who lies on a warrant application, then, is guilty not only of violating a person’s constitutional rights, but is also guilty of perjury.
But, considering Pelosi’s demagogic attitude, don’t hold your breath waiting for any “courageous” Democrats to break ranks and stand up for the Constitution.
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