Senior Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have requested that the FBI and Department of Justice turn over applications for any warrants to monitor the communications of U.S. citizens associated with the investigation into alleged Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The applications would have been submitted under the Obama administration. According to news media accounts, applications were made to conduct surveillance against members of President Donald Trump’s election campaign.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a panel member of the Committee, made the request as part of the probe into alleged Russian interference as well as the circumstances surrounding the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
In the letter, the senators wrote that they are seeking any warrant applications that the FBI submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA or FISC), the court’s responses, as well as “all final, signed FISA applications that the FBI and the Justice Department submitted to the FISC; and the FISC’s responses to the final, signed applications.”
The letter referred to a Guardian report from January that the FISA court turned down applications to monitor four Trump campaign members.
On April 11, the Washington Post cited “law enforcement and other U.S. officials” stating that, as part of its investigation into alleged Russian collusion, the FBI obtained a secret FISA court order last summer to monitor the communications of Carter Page, the American oil industry consultant who was tangentially and briefly associated with Trump’s presidential campaign.
For months now, Page has been publicly calling for the U.S. government to release information revealing how the reported FISA warrant against him was obtained.
In response to the news of Grassley’s and Graham’s request, Page told Breitbart News on Wednesday that the senators “took an important step forward in restoring justice in America.”
Reliance on discredited dossier?
In April, CNN reported that the controversial 35-page dossier on Trump compiled by a former British intelligence officer served as part of the FBI’s justification for seeking the FISA court’s approval to clandestinely monitor Page.
Earlier this week, Page told this reporter the document that he referred to as the “dodgy dossier” served as the “central foundation” for the FBI’s extensive questioning of him in March about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“While the Obama Administration gave Hillary Clinton a get-out-of-jail-free pass on her illegal email server ‘matter’, they joyfully accepted the opposition political research fabricated by political consultants associated with her campaign as false evidence in a failed attempt to rig the 2016 election,” Page contended in a follow-up interview on Wednesday.
The dossier in question was authored by former intelligence agent Christopher Steele, who was reportedly paid by Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans to investigate Trump. Last month, Steele conceded in court documents that part of his work still needed to be verified.
In April, Steele conceded in court documents that part of his work still needed to be verified.
The dossier claimed that a “Russian source” alleged that Page met secretly in Moscow with Kremlin officials to discuss the possible lifting of U.S. sanctions as well as compiling a Kremlin “file” on Hillary Clinton. Page has steadfastly denied the dossier claims.
The same dossier contains wild and unproven claims that the Russians had information regarding Trump and sordid sexual acts, including the widely mocked claim that Trump hired prostitutes and had them urinate on a hotel room bed.
Citing a “Kremlin insider,” the dossier, which misspelled the name of a Russian diplomat, also claimed that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen held “secret meetings” with Kremlin officials in Prague in August 2016.
That charge unraveled after Cohen revealed he had never traveled to Prague, calling the story “totally fake, totally inaccurate.” The Atlantic confirmed Cohen’s whereabouts in New York and California during the period the dossier claimed that Cohen was in Prague. Cohen reportedly produced his passport showing he had not traveled to Prague.
In testimony earlier this month to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, former FBI Director James B. Comey admitted that he pushed back against a request from President Donald Trump to possibly investigate the origins of “salacious material” that the agency possessed in the course of its investigation into alleged Russian interference.
The “salacious material” is clearly a reference to the dossier, as Breitbart News reported.
In testimony last month, Comey repeatedly refused to answer questions about his agency’s ties to the dossier.
Author and journalist Paul Sperry reported in the New York Post last week that the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month threatened to subpoena Fusion GPS, the secretive firm that hired Steele to produce the dossier, because the firm reportedly refused to answer questions about who financed the dossier.
Sperry raised further questions regarding possible connections between Fusion GPS and Hillary Clinton:
Fusion GPS was on the payroll of an unidentified Democratic ally of Clinton when it hired a long-retired British spy to dig up dirt on Trump. In 2012, Democrats hired Fusion GPS to uncover dirt on GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And in 2015, Democratic ally Planned Parenthood retained Fusion GPS to investigate pro-life activists protesting the abortion group.
Moreover, federal records show a key co-founder and partner in the firm was a Hillary Clinton donor and supporter of her presidential campaign.
In September 2016, while Fusion GPS was quietly shopping the dirty dossier on Trump around Washington, its co-founder and partner Peter R. Fritsch contributed at least $1,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund and the Hillary For America campaign, Federal Election Commission data show. His wife also donated money to Hillary’s campaign.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.