Nunes: Well, technically, maybe the DOJ did disclose the dossier’s political bias to the FISA Court
Wait, what? Here’s what the Memo says about this:
If you read that quickly, you’ll come away thinking that the feds said nothing at all to the FISA Court about where the dossier material came from. The judge had no information that it was oppo research from a foreign operative paid to dig up dirt on Trump, not the FBI’s own nonpartisan findings of fact. Material information was improperly withheld in order to secure a warrant against Carter Page and get the ball rolling on Russiagate.
But read it again, carefully. Does it say that the judge was told *nothing whatsoever* about the political origins of the dossier material? No. It’s specific. The Court wasn’t told that the funding came from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC but it sounds like it was told something more general. Watch below as Brian Kilmeade asks Nunes about a footnote in the FISA application that supposedly mentions the political nature of the document, albeit not mentioning Clinton and the DNC by name. Is that true, says Kilmeade? Sure sounds like it, per Nunes’s response:
“A footnote saying something may be political is a far cry from letting the American people know that the Democrats and the Hillary campaign paid for dirt that the FBI then used to get a warrant on an American citizen to spy on another campaign,” says Nunes. But the FISA application isn’t a document for “the American people,” it’s a document for a federal judge who’s used to weighing evidence that comes from less than credible sources. “[A] politically motivated person is no more suspect than the terrorists and criminals who routinely provide information used to support even the most intrusive warrants,” notes David French. “When I was in Iraq, we were constantly aware that our sources had their own axes to grind. They didn’t want to defeat their opponents in an election. They wanted them to die in a hail of gunfire.” If the FISA Court knew that the dossier was “political” and could discount its evidentiary weight accordingly, the argument that a material omission was made by the DOJ in declining to name Clinton or the DNC gets much thinner.
After all, knowing that the dossier was “political,” if the FISA judge thought it was crucially important to know who had paid for it, he had an easy way of finding out. He could have asked.
Trey Gowdy was also asked about the footnote yesterday. Quote:
“I read the footnote. I know exactly what the footnote says,” Gowdy said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “It took longer to explain it the way they did, than if they just come right out and said, ‘Hillary Clinton for America and DNC paid for it.’ But they didn’t do that.”
Why they didn’t just name Clinton or the DNC is something the feds should have to explain. If Gowdy’s right, it sounds like they wrote the footnote to be oblique precisely so that they wouldn’t need to specify who bankrolled Steele and the dossier. But the apparent fact remains that the judge was notified of the document’s political origins and signed off on the warrant anyway. A question for Gowdy, then: Why wasn’t the Memo more forthcoming about the fact that that notice of the dossier’s origins was given, however obliquely? Why does it obfuscate what was and wasn’t disclosed by zeroing in on the feds’ refusal to name Clinton while not acknowledging that evidence of political bias *was* included in the application?
It sure would be nice if we could read the application for ourselves to weigh exactly what was said, wouldn’t it?
Here’s Andrew Napolitano, normally a Trump ally, surprising the Fox News audience this morning by claiming that the Memo “overpromised and underdelivered” and agreeing with Trey Gowdy that it doesn’t undermine the broader Russiagate investigation. The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously this afternoon to declassify Adam Schiff’s counter-memo, by the way, so we should be seeing that soon. According to Business Insider, among other things, the Schiff memo “will shed light on the FBI’s ‘pre-existing focus’ on Page that was underway long before the DOJ applied for the warrant, one of the sources said.” That’s another shot at the idea, seemingly debunked by the Nunes Memo itself, that Russiagate grew entirely out of the poisonous seed of the Steele dossier. Exit question: Why did Nunes tell Fox at the end of the clip above that George Papadaopoulos and Trump never met? There’s a semi-famous photo of the two of them at a meeting together during the campaign that circulated widely when Papadopoulos copped a plea with Mueller.