Editorial: You want collusion? This is collusion

Partisan use of intelligence apparatus would be worse than Watergate

If Richard Nixon had done this, he wouldn’t have lasted as long as he did.

 

The bombshell memo released Friday by the House Intelligence Committee says the FBI used tainted information from political enemies of Donald Trump – funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign – to obtain warrants to spy on his campaign.

In addition, the agency did not reveal the tainted source of its information to the judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

In sum, it appears the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, with the acquiescence of top FBI and Department of Justice officials, were able to use the most sensitive and secretive instruments of the U.S. government to spy on the opposition candidate in an effort to discredit and defeat him.

It certainly appears as if FBI officials were disingenuous, if not outright dishonest and unethical – not to mention possibly illegal – in hiding material information from the court on the credibility of its allegations against Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, for whom the court approved a wiretap.

On four separate occasions – the initial warrant application and three renewals – the FBI relied on a now-discredited dossier by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, though the title “former intelligence officer” gives him far too much credibility. He was ultimately fired as an FBI source and, the memo says, was a virulent anti-Trump partisan being paid by Democrats to dredge up dirt on the Republican presidential nominee.

The memo says Steele, whom the court relied upon to authorize spying on the Trump campaign, told another Democrat partisan in the FBI that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”

The partisan source and financing for Steele’s dossier was well-known to the FBI officials who used it to justify spying on the Trump campaign, the memo says.

The memo also notes that the FBI asked the court for the warrant to spy based in part on news reports in the media that were, themselves, fed by Steele. In other words, the dossier was used, through the news media, to add credibility to itself. “That’s called circular reporting,” one journalist said Friday.

Rest assured, if you were facing criminal charges and they were found to be based on such “evidence,” your case would be dimissed before the jurors could get up out of their chairs.

And warrants to spy on American citizens are supposed to be more iron-clad than that.

You want collusion? This is collusion.

If true, there is no comparison to Watergate. This is much worse. In the end, Nixon was unable to marshal the awesome power of the federal government to either carry out a “third-rate burglary” (the bumbling Committee to Re-elect the President took care of that) or to cover up the crime (the system ultimately chewed him up and spit him out).

But if not for the election of Donald Trump in 2016, this alleged manipulation of the FBI, DOJ and the FISA court by foes of Mr. Trump – a much more frightening prospect than even Watergate – might never have come to light.

If true, these allegations should lead to immediate resignations or firings, as well as possible criminal charges.

If true, this was a blatant attempt to rig a U.S. presidential election. Chilling.

 

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Sun, 02/18/2018 - 00:03

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