President Donald Trump was so wrong about calling FISA warrants used to investigate Russian infiltration of his campaign “illegal” that even the entire Fox News Sunday panel featuring Brit Hume called him out for it.
On Sunday morning, Trump responded to the Saturday release of redacted FISA applications by the FBI explaining why a warrant was necessary to investigate Russian activity inside Trump’s campaign by calling the FISA application “illegal” and a “scam.”
.@PeteHegseth on @FoxNews “Source #1 was the (Fake) Dossier. Yes, the Dirty Dossier, paid for by Democrats as a hit piece against Trump, and looking for information that could discredit Candidate #1 Trump. Carter Page was just the foot to surveil the Trump campaign…” ILLEGAL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2018
However, the FBI did nothing “illegal” at all by using the Steele dossier as evidence because some of it has been verified. Plus, the FBI was already investigating Trump campaign adviser Carter Page for being a foreign agent with ties to the Kremlin.
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume, along with Marie Harf and Guy Benson, popped Trump’s rhetorical bubble by pointing out that the FBI and Justice Department did nothing wrong.
“Not illegal as far as I can tell,” Hume bluntly stated. “It was approved by the judge, which is the process it’s supposed to go through. I mean I think it may well have been improper and I think that as Guy suggests and as the document reveals, there’s stuff in that FISA warrant application that has no business being there. That does not make it illegal. It may make it improper.”
It’s probably not even improper. Again, a lot of the dossier has been verified and the FBI had to make a strong case to get the warrant approved, which it was several times as Marie Harf noted, making the legality of the warrant unquestionably legal.
“It was removed three times, which means you had to get independent evidence that it was producing usable intelligence,” Harf said. “And I will say this is not a witch hunt. This is not the only thing that is part of the Russia investigation and the FISA application wasn’t put in for Carter Page until he left the Trump campaign. So the idea that this was part of spying on the Trump campaign just isn’t backed up by the timeline.”
Indeed, even Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein signed off on the FISA application, and FISA judges appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts approved it.
Trump and House Republicans can claim all they want that the FBI and Justice Department did something wrong. It doesn’t make their accusations true.
The fact is that the FBI had good evidence to justify the warrants and the investigation has continued to reveal more and more evidence that justified renewing the warrants on several occasions. And Trump’s continued effort to undermine or discredit the Russia investigation just makes one wonder what is he trying to hide and what more will Special Counsel Robert Mueller find?
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