FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the agency’s 2016 surveillance of then-candidate Donald Trump campaign aide Carter Page was unlawful. In other words, Wray now acknowledges that Trump was spied on illegally by the U.S. government, as he has claimed since 2017.
Two of four FISA warrants used to spy on Page were deemed to have been based on false information, which means they didn’t meet legal requirements and never should have been issued, according to Horowitz’s report. Under questioning by Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), Wray agreed.
“The report acknowledges that…this was illegal surveillance with respect to at least several of these FISA applications, because there was not probable cause or proper predication, correct?” Ratcliffe asked.
“Right,” Wray replied.
Democrats’ assertions contradicted
The testimony pertained to Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s December report on FISA abuse, which detailed 17 errors or omissions in the FISA warrant applications filed by the FBI in 2016 and 2017. The filings relied heavily on a dossier of information about Trump compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele, which was not verified and contained mostly false information.
The illegal warrants were approved by Andrew McCabe, who was then acting FBI director, as well as then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and James Comey, when he was still FBI director.
Until Horowitz’s report, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and other Democrats had insisted that the FISA warrants met probable cause standards. Schiff had even ridiculed Republicans for suggesting otherwise.
“Today’s unprecedented court filing represents another step on the road to recovery for America’s deeply damaged judicial system,” Page said in a statement to Fox News. “I hope that this latest admission of guilt for these civil rights abuses by the Justice Department marks continued progress towards restoring justice and remedying these reputationally ruinous injuries.”
Following up on FISA abuse
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who had previously chaired the Judiciary Committee, called the FBI’s cooperation and admission of wrongdoing “a step in the right direction.”
“Time will tell if the department will continue working to fix its errors and restore trust that it won’t disregard Americans’ civil liberties,” Grassley said.
Horowitz’s report uncovered one instance of intentional wrongdoing by then-FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, who altered a CIA email as part of the application process. The FBI is now reviewing all FISA applications involving Clinesmith.
It just shows how far the deep state was willing to go to take Trump down. It’s amazing they didn’t succeed.