Sara Carter reports that the unverified dossier alleging connections between President Trump’s campaign and the Russians was used as evidence by the FBI to gain approval from the FISA court to monitor members of Trump’s team. Carter cites “multiple sources.”
Carter also notes that Sean Hannity says he has independently confirmed the dossier was used to obtain the FISA warrant. Hannity relies on three sources.
Meanwhile, Byron York reports that representatives of four congressional committees — the House Intelligence Committee, Senate Intelligence Committee, House Judiciary Committee, and Senate Judiciary Committee — have seen the documents the FBI submitted with its request for a FISA warrant. Thus, these members know whether dossier material was used to obtain the warrant.
So far, says Byron, the members and any staffers in the know have not leaked word as to whether such material was used. (As I understand it, this information is classified). Sara Carter appears to be relying on leaks from sources in the executive branch, whom she describes as “senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the dossier.”
At the end of the day, I suspect we’ll learn conclusively that unverified dossier information was indeed used to obtain the FISA warrant. And we already know the dossier information was obtained at the behest of, and with financing from, the Clinton campaign. And I think we know that at least some of the FBI agents and officials involved in the process were anti-Trump partisans alarmed at the prospect of Trump defeating Clinton.
None of this lets President Trump off the hook, though. If evidence of collusion exists (by now, I see no reason to believe it does), the fact that the evidence may be “the fruit of a poisonous tree” won’t matter. Similarly, if Trump obstructed justice (so far, I see no reason to believe he did, but Robert Mueller and his team might see things differently), abuse by the FBI will be no defense.
This doesn’t make such abuse trivial, however. Far from it. If FBI agents and officials acted improperly in connection with the dossier and/or the FISA application, they should be punished.