The FISA report directly refutes Adam Schiff’s claims that the fictitious Steele dossier was not central to the Department of Justice’s request to spy on members of the Trump campaign. This is rather amusing because many of Schiff’s garbage claims are being repeated in his garbage impeachment process as the justification for Democrats’ obnoxiously funny “treason” charge. The dossier was cited relentlessly by the FBI in FISA applications, and through FBI and DOJ leaks to left-leaning media outlets, became the primum movens of the Russia Russia Russia hysteria.
According to Horowitz, the Steele dossier was substantially all of the evidence submitted to the court. FBI agents also falsely told the court that Steele was not the primary source of the articles used to collaborate the Steele dossier. But Horowitz says they did this unintentionally, as it never occurred to them to ask whether Hillary Clinton’s opposition research firm was talking to the media in addition to the FBI. These are detectives, y’all.
If you want to skip to the worst content in the report (in my opinion), go to Chapter 8: Misstatements, Omissions, and Errors in the FISA Renewal Applications.
This chapter goes into detail all of the various ways these folks understood they had no case to make, but took debunked information to the court anyway. Even after the FBI terminated its relationship with Christopher Steele because they knew the information he was providing was unreliable, DOJ official Bruce Ohr continued to ferry communications with Steele to this group of investigators. They apparently never informed top brass at the DOJ that this was happening. This effort to keep the truth from coming out included FBI lawyers editing emails.
It is no longer a subject of partisan debate that the FBI built its entire case to the FISA court on opposition research that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid millions of dollars to produce, and that the FBI knew with every renewal of the FISA report that the information contained in that dossier was false. That’s in the report and it is explained matter-of-factly, though it takes hundreds of pages to debunk all the false information the FBI was putting out there and who internally was responsible.
The FISA report debunks several claims about Trump – Russia from the Steele dossier that the media continues to circulate ad nauseum. In fact, the whole report is a tour de force of shit that has been debunked that some in the FBI and their handmaids in the media kept circulating.
Now, someone could claim that they were not doing this out of political bias, malice, or corruption, but from mere stupidity. That is essentially the case that Comey made about Clinton – that she was not deliberately trying to shield her communications from scrutiny under FOIA or whatever, but that she was truly too old and stupid to know how electronic communications worked. (Wiped the servers? You mean with a cloth?) She was, after all, having her Venezuelan maid print off classified briefings because hitting “print” is too hard to understand. (That is literally in the FBI notes on the Clinton case that Comey published.)
But given that we have mountains of correspondence from all of these people and some of them went on to careers to bitch and moan about Trump as CNN panelists after being fired or quitting the FBI, it’s not exactly a mystery where their minds were at when they were undertaking all of this.
These folks also kept their mouths shut about exculpatory and falsified evidence through the ridiculously expensive Mueller investigation, which resulted in Martha Stewart-esque process crimes and charges that Manafort was not paying his taxes. (If you were wondering how Mueller’s team found themselves wandering into the less sexy domain of tax law, you learn from the report that Strzok, Page, Baker, and McCabe had been looking for something to stick Manafort with for a long time. Bruce Ohr had been working on money laundering charges on Manafort long before Mueller became a household name. They just passed that on to Mueller to try to pressure Manafort into admitting that Trump was colluding with Russia, something that the FBI agents involved already knew was bogus from their private dealings with Steele. And this is why we have Durham.)
This entire time, FBI and DOJ lawyers who had been the grunts in this investigation went to work for Mueller and never told anyone that the basis of the case was crap propaganda from the Clinton campaign.
From the report:
As we describe in this chapter, the three Carter Page renewal applications contained a number of factual representations that were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information in the FBl’s possession at the time the applications were filed. On July 12, 2018, approximately one year after the final FISA renewal application, the National Security Division (NSD) sent a letter to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) advising the court of certain factual omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications that came to NSD’s attention after the last renewal application was filed. The information, which had been in the FBI’s possession, included certain statements made by George Papadopoulos to FBI confidential human sources (CHSs), information provided to the FBI by Department attorney Bruce Ohr as a result of Ohr’s conversations with Christopher Steele, and admissions Steele made in court filings in foreign litigation regarding his interactions with the media.
We found no evidence that officials in NSD had been told of this information or were aware of these omissions at the time the four FISA applications were filed with the court. Further, we found no evidence suggesting that the senior Department officials who approved the various FISA applications-Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Sally Yates (the first application and first renewal), Acting Attorney General Dana Boente (the second renewal), or DAG Rod Rosenstein (the third renewal)-were aware of these issues at the time they signed the FISA applications. We also detail instances not described in the July 2018 letter to the FISC, but identified by the OIG during the course of this review, in which factual assertions made in the three renewal applications were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information in the FBl’s possession at the time the applications were filed. These included inconsistencies between Steele’s reporting and information provided by his Primary Sub-source to the FBI; information provided to the FBI by another U.S. government agency about Page’s prior relationship with that agency; information concerning Steele’s past work-related performance; information regarding the connection between Steele’s reporting and the Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the Hillary Clinton campaign; information from the FBl’s human source validation report concerning Steele; denials by Joseph Mifsud to the FBI; and information about Carter Page’s lack of involvement in the change in the Republican Party platform concerning Russia and Ukraine. We found no evidence that Yates was aware of these issues at the time she approved the first FISA renewal application. We found that Boente was also unaware of these issues when he approved the second renewal application, with one exception concerning information regarding the ties between Steele’s reporting and the Democratic Party. Boente recalled knowing the information at the time he approved the second renewal. We found that Rosenstein was unaware of the issues we identified at the time he approved the third renewal application. With respect to the ties between Steele’s reporting and the Democratic Party, Rosenstein told us he believes he learned that information from news media accounts, but did not recall whether he knew it at the time he approved the third renewal.
What an absolute disgrace Rod Rosenstein is. He couldn’t remember if, at the time he signed off on a request to spy on a US citizen – who at this point was clearly not at all connected to Russia – if he knew that the core piece of evidence they were submitting to the court was funded by the Clinton campaign. I don’t know, man, is that, like, important or something?
The government really should go back and look at every case this incestuous group of FBI and DOJ officials worked on. There’s no telling how many lives they’ve fucked up over nothing.