The House memo released today [February 2nd, 2018] makes a compelling case that the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court was misled and severely abused by top officials in the Justice Department and FBI. Rather than relying upon dueling summary memos from Republicans and Democrats, the American people should be able to see for themselves the details of how the Obama administration officials (and Rod Rosenstein of the Trump administration) justified spying on the Trump team.
To that end we have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for FBI documents regarding the FISA warrant application submitted to – and responses from – the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court related to alleged collusion between Russia and Trump campaign associates (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00245)).
We filed suit in the United States District Court of the District of Columbia after the agency rejected a July 19, 2017, FOIA request seeking:
Copies of all proposed and all final signed FISA applications submitted to the FISC relating to Russian interference in the 2016 election, allegations of collusion between people associated with the Trump campaign and Russia, and any known Trump associates regardless of context;
Copies of all FISC responses to the above-mentioned applications in which the Court notified the FBI or Justice Department that it would not grant the proposed applications or recommended changes. If any such FISC responses were provided orally, rather than in writing, please provide copies of FBI or Justice Department records memorializing or otherwise referencing the relevant FISC responses;
Copies of all FISC orders relating to the above mentioned applications, whether denying the applications and certifications, denying the orders, modifying the orders, granting the orders, or other types of orders.
Let’s be clear about what is at stake here. The memo shows that Comey, McCabe, Yates, and Rosenstein misled the FISA court. Will Rosenstein be fired? Will he have to recuse himself, in the least?
Moreover, and more significantly, the Steele dossier was a “salacious and unverified” document paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Yet, it was used by top Justice Department officials to obtain a FISA warrant. In fact, there could have been no FISA warrant without the dossier. Which means there was no Russia collusion story without the dossier. Which means there could have been no Mueller special counsel without the Clinton-financed anti-Russia dossier.
From what we know publicly, this may be the worst government abuse scandal in a generation – which makes it urgent the Justice Department stop stonewalling the release of the FISA documents.