01.12.2018 0

Congress reauthorizes FISA as DNC and Clinton-funded Steele dossier said to be basis for Obama’s FISA warrant against Trump campaign in 2016

By Robert Romano

The House has passed legislation reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for another six years as some of the most damning information is coming forward on how the law was abused in 2016 by the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign.

Sara Carter has broken news that the DNC and Clinton campaign-funded Fusion GPS-Christopher Steele dossier — which alleged that Russia hacked the DNC emails, put them on Wikileaks and the Trump campaign helped — was in fact used by the FBI to obtain FISA court warrants against Trump campaign officials.

That is a bombshell, if true.

It would mean the Obama administration used an unverified political hit job, paid for by the Democrats, to spy on the opposition party in an election year. This began as a mortal threat to the very fabric of our democracy.

But it got worse. After the election, the spying continued on the Trump transition team.

It carried into the Trump administration, immediately after the inauguration entrapping White House officials such as former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn into questioning from FBI agents on his recollection of legitimate contacts with Russian officials after lame duck sanctions were instituted by former President Barack Obama. By then it was a bona fide witch hunt.

It had became the means to overturn the result of the election, threatening the peaceful transfer of power that is supposed to take place. What was at first dangerous has now become a mortal wound to our constitutional system.

And if President Donald Trump dared to try to rein it in, why that would be obstruction and cause for removal or even prosecuting a sitting president. Now this mania has rapidly proceeded to a legitimate constitutional crisis. The President is the head of the executive branch, but now rogue agencies are threatening the separation of powers.

In the meantime, the whole investigation was based on a lie, as the Steele dossier contained information in it that is demonstrably false. For example, Trump Organization lawyer Michael Cohen was said to be in Prague meeting with Russian officials to clean up the mess surrounding the DNC emails turning up on Wikileaks — when Cohen says he has never been to the Czech Republic.

Well, if Cohen has never been to Prague, then he can very well have not been there having conversations with Russian officials about Wikileaks and the DNC emails and the collusion plot at a meeting that never took place. Cohen is now suing Fusion GPS and Buzzfeed for publishing the dossier.

If anything, Steele appeared to be taking what he thought were travel records and then filling in the blanks with this Russia collusion narrative. For example, in July 2016, one-time Trump campaign advisor Carter Page was in Moscow giving a speech at a commencement ceremony. But, according to Steele, he was actually dispatched by then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to link up on the efforts to put the DNC emails on Wikileaks.

But when push comes to shove, what could the FBI verify? That Page had been to Moscow to deliver a commencement speech. Nothing else. Well, it did not need a FISA warrant to do that. Page’s speech appeared on Youtube.

When former FBI Director James Comey testified about the dossier, he said it was “salacious and unverified.” Add to that the fact that it was paid for by the Democrats. If that’s true, that the FBI could not verify it, and they should have been able to figure out that the Democrats were paying for it, then why was it ever used to get a FISA warrant against the Trump campaign?

Which brings us back to the Congressional reauthorization of FISA. Namely, if this is how FISA was abused, has Congress secured sufficient reforms to stop it? Hopefully under the new regime, the use of communications will be restricted to only for national security matters, and those involving U.S. persons are only in cases where a crime has been committed or is about to be committed, and involve an actual warrant being issued.

To be fair, many of the members who voted yes are some of the same members who are working diligently behind the scenes to make certain that political surveillance of the opposition party by an administration never happens again.

Americans for Limited Government has named U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes Congressman of the Year for his work in exposing many of these abuses and bias at the Justice Department and intelligence agencies. But a lot of the hard work remains.

While it is heartening that President Trump is already taking steps to rein in some of these past abuses by national security and law enforcement agencies, the American people should not have to depend on the benevolence of our rulers to protect the Constitution. We are a nation of laws, and these abuses will happen again if they are not clearly prohibited.

Now that FISA is being reauthorized, those who voted yes and urged passage have a special responsibility to restore public confidence in these institutions after what may be the national security apparatus’ greatest scandal in history. The American people need to see officials being held accountable for these surveillance abuses.

So far, nobody has been prosecuted for the surveillance abuses that occurred in 2016. To restore the public trust, heads must roll.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

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