President Donald Trump’s own Justice Department filed a motion this week arguing that he has no clue what’s he’s talking about when he claims the FBI lied to FISA judges to get warrants.
One of the top arguments Trump and his allies have been peddling this past year in an effort to undermine and discredit the Russia investigation is that the FBI and Justice Department inappropriately obtained FISA warrants to probe whether or not the Russians had infiltrated Trump’s 2016 campaign, something even Fox News has debunked.
Trump and his supporters have repeatedly alleged that the FBI lied in order to justify the warrants, and Trump has frequently attacked the legitimacy of the FISA documents on Twitter.
But now the Justice Department is fighting back in a new motion filed in court this week that argues Trump literally doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
In the case James Madison Project v. Department of Justice, the plaintiffs filed a Freedom of Information request for unredacted FISA documents using Trump’s tweets as supposed evidence that the government is hiding something.
The Justice Department fired back with a devastating motion that not only makes it clear the James Madison Project has no real evidence to back up their claims, it serves as a rebuke of Trump’s own accusations.
“Plaintiffs also argue that two statements by the President on Twitter, issued after the government released the redacted Carter Page FISA materials, create a genuine issue of material fact about the good faith of the government’s declarations,” the DOJ says. “This argument is meritless and should be rejected.”
The DOJ continued picking apart the plaintiff’s argument.
Plaintiffs have put forward no information sufficient to overcome this presumption with respect to the government’s declarations. They have not challenged any statement in the Hardy or Findlay declarations and have put forward no substantive information or legal argument suggesting that the facts and analysis in those declarations are incorrect or misleading. They have pointed to no statement in the declarations that may be the result of misconduct, and it does not appear that they actually believe that there was misconduct. Rather, Plaintiffs have wholly conceded the applicability of the government’s claimed exemptions in general. Plaintiffs cannot therefore manufacture an issue of material fact as to the processing in general by relying on generalized, vague allegations of misconduct based on no personal knowledge.
The DOJ motion then addressed Trump’s tweets directly.
“Moreover, the tweets cited by Plaintiffs do not create an issue of material fact as to the
good faith of the government declarations and redactions,” the DOJ argued before citing an example used by the plaintiffs.
Congratulations to @JudicialWatch and @TomFitton on being successful in getting the Carter Page FISA documents. As usual they are ridiculously heavily redacted but confirm with little doubt that the Department of “Justice” and FBI misled the courts. Witch Hunt Rigged, a Scam!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2018
“On it its face, this tweet does not suggest any misconduct in the redactions; the general statement that the redactions are “heavy” and somehow “ridiculous” is not an accusation of bad faith or misconduct,” the DOJ declared. “And it is not a statement of fact at all.”
The DOJ even admonished Trump for quoting someone on Fox News as so-called “proof” of a cover-up and conspiracy against him.
“It was classified to cover up misconduct by the FBI and the Justice Department in misleading the Court by using this Dossier in a dishonest way to gain a warrant to target the Trump Team. This is a Clinton Campaign document. It was a fraud and a hoax designed to target Trump….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018
“The President’s quotation of media reporting cannot be assumed to be his confirmation of the media reporting based on government information, and it is not evidence of government misconduct in this case,” the DOJ said, pointing out that the plaintiffs apparently did not see Trump’s use of quotation marks in the tweet.
This is a good example of how Trump’s tweets are backfiring against him and even his own Justice Department is using them to argue that Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
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