Screengrab from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlQUdTk7Alw

 

Yesterday, the Department of Justice released a heavily redacted version of the FISA warrant used to put former Trump campaign staffer Carter Page under electronic surveillance. There is a lot we don’t know about the warrant but what we do know does not build confidence in the process.

At a minimum, in regards to the use of the dossier, the FBI used open source news articles by people who had been briefed on the dossier by Christopher Steele to validate the allegations Steele had made in the dossier. At a minimum, the FBI did not disclose to the federal judge that Steele was being paid to do opposition research at the behest of the Clinton campaign.

And none of this has escaped the eye of the Twitterer-in-Chief:

Earlier, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was on Face the Nation and he was asked about the released FISA warrants.

MARGARET BRENNAN: This morning the president is again accusing the Justice Department and the FBI of misleading courts and illegally surveilling his campaign. He’s pointing to these documents that were just released about Carter Page who was a campaign associate and has admitted to having advised the Kremlin at one point. You sit on Senate Judiciary. Is the president wrong?

SEN. GRAHAM: No I think that the whole FISA award process needs to be looked at. The warrant on Carter Page was supported mostly by dossier that came from Michael Steele who is being paid by the Democratic Party to do opposition research and the dossier was collected I think from Russian intelligence services and if you ask the FBI today how much of the dossier on Trump has been verified. Almost none of it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you do say mostly. Not entirely. Therefore was the surveillance justified?

SEN. GRAHAM: No not at all in my view. If the dossier is the reason you issued the warrant it was a bunch of garbage. The dossier has proven to be a bunch of garbage.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the president is correct?

SEN. GRAHAM: In my view that the warrant, the FISA warrant process needs to be looked at closely about Congress. The main reason they issued the warrant was the dossier prepared by Mr. Steele. They never told the court that he was a paid operative in the Democratic Party. The substance of the dossier to this day is a bunch of garbage.

What this shows and what Graham focuses on, is that the FISA warrant system is broken. Right now, the FISA Court approves 99.97% of all FISA warrant applications. The FISA Court, instead of some hard-nosed bulwark of civil liberties, has become a rubber stamp for the Justice Department to do whatever it wants to do. If a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, the FISA court will slap mustard on that sandwich before allowing the FBI to put it under surveillance.

Unless there is something earth-shattering in the unredacted parts of the warrant, and there is really no reason to suppose it is anything more than what has been revealed, then the FISA warrant on Carter Page has much more to do with Strzok’s “insurance policy” than it does with any legitimate intelligence or law enforcement function. The fact that Page still hasn’t been indicted for anything speaks volumes for the corrupt nature of the FBI’s warrant application.

This is the whole Lindsey Graham interview