The actions taken by former special counsel Robert Mueller may be in question after the Justice Department acknowledged that two of the four FISA applications used to conduct surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page “were not valid.”
The DOJ told the court in December it believes “there was insufficient predication to establish probable cause” that Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, which jeopardizes any information obtained as a result of the final two of the four FISA applications approved to spy on Page.
In an order from U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, who presides over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the two warrants were determined to be unlawfully authorized.
Boasberg wrote in the order: “Thanks in large part to the work of the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice, the Court has received notice of material misstatements and omissions in the applications filed by the government in the above-captioned dockets. DOJ assesses that with respect to the applications in Docket Numbers 17-375 and 17-679, ‘if not earlier, there was insufficient predication to establish probable cause to believe that [Carter] Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power.’”
“The Court understands the government to have concluded, in view of the material misstatements and omissions, that the Court’s authorizations in Docket Numbers 17-375 and 17-679 were not valid,” the letter added.
As for who signed the invalid applications, former FBI director James Comey signed the April 7 application, and former deputy director Andrew McCabe signed the June 29 application, along with former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, according to The Federalist.
Sean Davis, a co-founder of The Federalist, highlighted the timing behind the FISA warrants in question, noting that this may “nullify” convictions that resulted from the Mueller investigation.
“The final three-month authorization to spy on Page was signed nearly six weeks after Mueller was appointed, meaning that Mueller may have had real-time access to and utilized nearly five months worth of surveillance of Page during the course of Mueller’s investigation. If his office used any of the information in subsequent cases, the declaration that the final two spy warrants against Page were invalid could potentially nullify previous or future convictions sought by Mueller’s office,” Davis wrote.
The validity of the other two FISA warrants remains to be seen, according to the letter.
“The government apparently does not take a position on the validity of the authorizations in Docket Numbers 16-1182 and 17-52, but intends to sequester information acquired pursuant to those dockets in the same manner as information acquired pursuant to the subsequent dockets,” Boasberg said.
Reuters reporter Brad Heath tweeted that the government must turn over additional information about “related investigations” that may be affected.
“The FISC ordered the government to produce a bunch of additional information, including how it will wall off whatever info it gained from the Page wiretaps, and to explain what ‘related investigations’ that might be going on about those FISA applications,” he tweeted.
The FISC ordered the government to produce a bunch of additional information, including how it will wall off whatever info it gained from the Page wiretaps, and to explain what “related investigations” that might be going on about those FISA applications. pic.twitter.com/mzzl9SaFv8
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) January 23, 2020
Heath concluded that Boasberg’s order is “a big deal.”
This is a big deal. The Justice Department is conceding that two of the four FISA applications it used to conduct surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page were not lawful, and it’s not defending the legality of its other two applications. pic.twitter.com/sa6Sg35iJB
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) January 23, 2020
The reaction on the left was to immediately dismiss the DOJ’s concession as tainted because of Attorney General William Barr, claiming he is corrupt.
On the other hand, there was just as much skepticism about whether anyone is ever held accountable — after all, this is Washington, DC.
Here’s a sampling of some of the results from Twitter:
Was any info from these ill-gotten warrants used to convict anyone in connection with the Mueller investigation? If so, could those convictions be overturned?
If so, the ramifications could be seismic.
— Gene Berardelli (@gberardelli) January 23, 2020
The time for concern about improper influence from political appointees was 3.5 years ago, when the FBI was violating the rights of American Citizens and meddling in a Presidential election. Not today when the info might reflect badly on corrupt officials in the FBI and DOJ.
— »Jay Wiz« (@FuarFuerg) January 23, 2020
You mean @DevinNunes was right???? Geee, who would have thought????
— KW (@KMW_main) January 23, 2020
Adam Schiff LIED in a memo about the FISA warrant when he had the same exact information @DevinNunes had. Adam Schiff LIED to the American people that he had evidence of President @realDonaldTrump and Russian collusion. Now he is lead prosecutor for impeachment…HOW?!?!?!
— Molly Martinez (@MollyDiamond28) January 23, 2020
I think the FISA judges who failed to protect the public from DOJ abuses should be asked to resign their judicial positions. They were derelict in their duties. They should be ashamed and resign. Perhaps senators like @SenTedCruz and the House @freedomcaucus could demand this.
— Life & Liberty (@LifeLiberty3) January 24, 2020
Good. Hope this helps Carter Page in a lawsuit to sue the government for abusing his civil rights & he deserves $500 million paid from the budget of #FBI
— dorothy1961👠 (@dorothy1961) January 23, 2020
So when are people going to get thrown in jail? Preferably in the middle of the night with a swat team and cameras.
— GMA Ruth Text Trump to 88022 (@gmaruth76) January 23, 2020
Who’s going to be held to account??
— Priority News Now (@WandS_Headlines) January 23, 2020
Hopefully we will hear how the violators will be held accountable. Everyone involved in this deceitful farce need prosecuted to the full extend of the law to ensure this doesnt happen again. Justice must prevail. God bless Carter Page.
— Pamela L. Smith (@PlSmith57) January 23, 2020
— #Cult45! (@Andy_Dufresnes) January 23, 2020
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