A dossier containing Russian disinformation on Donald Trump, which was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, was used by the FBI to obtain a warrant to spy on then-candidate Donald Trump’s team, reports an award-winning national security reporter.
Citing multiple sources, Sara Carter wrote on her website that the FBI used the dossier, alongside other evidence, to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, to spy on members of Trump’s team.
Carter wrote that the FBI used the dossier as evidence despite a large portion of the information contained in the dossier having been proven wrong or remaining unsubstantiated.
The dossier, which was produced by the D.C.-based intelligence firm Fusion GPS, relies almost exclusively on Kremlin-linked sources and has itself been described by experts as a Russian disinformation campaign.
The court warrant obtained by the FBI was used by top Obama administration officials to spy on Trump’s team, and potentially Trump himself, during and after the elections.
At the time, President Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice and his ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, made dozens of “unmasking” requests for the identities of members of Trump’s team—asking to be provided with transcripts of conversations they took part in with their names not redacted, as would normally be done.
The monitoring of the communications of Trump’s campaign and transition team raises serious concerns about whether the information was used for political purposes to support Hillary Clinton during the campaign or to interfere with the transition process after Trump was elected.
Obama endorsed Clinton during the campaign and was an outspoken supporter of her on the campaign trail.
The House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Devin Nunes, is currently working to determine the role that the dossier played during the 2016 elections, including whether it was used to obtain the FISA warrant.
From the limited information known so far, it appears that the FBI opened its investigation into Trump in July 2016, the same month that Christopher Steele, who was hired by Fusion GPS to produce the report, was talking to FBI agents.
Court documents from the UK, where Steele is currently being sued for defamation by a Russian businessman mentioned in the report, show that he was also instructed by Fusion GPS to give at least two briefings to major media organizations, including The New York Times, CNN, and Yahoo News.
Last week a federal court ordered Fusion GPS to hand over its bank records to the House committee. The committee had sought the bank records in part because they showed payments from Fusion GPS to journalists.
Of particular interest to the House committee are text messages sent between the FBI agent who initially led the investigation into Trump, Peter Strzok, and FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
The nearly 10,000 messages between them, which the Department of Justice (DOJ) had obtained, reveal a strong bias against then-candidate Trump, as well as a discussion on how to prevent him from being elected.
In one such text message Strzok sent to Page, he wrote “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office that there’s no way he gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
Last week Nunes reached an agreement with the DOJ to provide his committee with all of the text messages as well as other documents and witness interviews related to Fusion GPS.
Also being investigated is DOJ official Bruce Ohr, who served as an associate deputy attorney general before being demoted after it was revealed he concealed multiple meetings he had with Fusion GPS officials during the elections.
Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, also worked for Fusion GPS during that time doing research on Trump.
Despite over a year of multiple investigations in Congress, as well as by the intelligence agencies, no evidence of collusion has been found between Trump or his campaign with the Russians to influence the election.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was asked by MSNBC’s Chuck Todd on March 5, 2017, whether there was any evidence of collusion.
“Not to my knowledge,” he said.