John Ratcliffe works hard in congress to counteract false democrat narratives that are repeated in the media and used to confuse and misinform the public, and his questions to FBI Director Christopher Wray exposed yet another.
During testimony, Wray was forced to admit that the surveillance of Carter Page was illegal, after the Obama administration used the fabricated opposition research contained in the Steele dossier to obtain secret warrants from the FISA court against a U.S. citizen.
Wray made the claim during congressional testimony before the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee earlier this week, as Republicans pressed him for answers about the bureau’s response to the Justice Department watchdog’s FISA abuse report.
The report by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation was flawed, and he criticized the DOJ and the FBI for 17 “significant errors and omissions” related to secret surveillance court filings targeting Page. The filings made use of the dossier compiled by Steele, who’d been hired by Fusion GPS, which in turn was hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign through the Perkins Coie law firm.
Under questioning from Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas, Wray, who deflected many questions by referring lawmakers back to Horowitz’s report, agreed that Page was surveilled illegally.
“The report acknowledges that … this was illegal surveillance with respect to at least several of these FISA applications, because there was not probable cause or proper predication, correct?” Ratcliffe asked.
“Right,” Wray replied.
Ratcliffe was referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court revelation that, in the wake of Horowitz’s report, the DOJ told the FISA court it believed the final two Page FISA warrants were invalid but were still reviewing the first two. The FBI also told the court it was trying to sequester all the information obtained through the Page FISA warrants.
Judge James Boasberg, the FISA court’s presiding judge, quoted the DOJ as saying that by the third and fourth warrants against Page, “if not earlier, there was insufficient predication to establish probable cause to believe that [Carter] Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power.”
Boasberg said that “the Court understands the government to have concluded, in view of the material misstatements and omissions, that the Court’s authorizations” related to the April 2017 and June 2017 Page FISA renewals “were not valid.” Thus far, the DOJ has not reached a public decision on the initial October 2016 FISA application or the January 2017 renewal.
“So to the point of one of my Democratic colleagues that there was no fraud on the court, illegal surveillance and changing evidence to conduct illegal surveillance is the very definition of fraud on the court, is it not?” Ratcliffe followed up.
“Well, I certainly think that it describes conduct that is utterly unacceptable,” Wray said. “We have accepted … every finding in the inspector general’s report, including some that are extremely painful to us as an institution.”
In a rare public order, the FISA court criticized how the FBI handled the Page applications as “antithetical to the heightened duty of candor,” and demanded an evaluation from the bureau. The FISA court also ordered a review of all FISA filings handled by Kevin Clinesmith, the FBI lawyer who altered a key document about Page in the third renewal process. He is now under criminal investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham, a prosecutor from Connecticut who was tasked by Attorney General William Barr with investigating the Trump-Russia inquiry.