Controversy mounts over FBI use of Fusion GPS “Russia Dossier” in FISA Trump surveillance
Under questioning by Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep.– OH, before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Wray refused to say whether discredited FBI Agent Peter Strzok was behind the use of the Fusion GPS dossier to obtain FISA court permission to conduct electronic surveillance on various members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
On Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Rep. – IA, sent a letter to FBI Director Wray, demanding the FBI turn over all records relating to Strzok, including his 10,000 emails with his mistress, DOJ prosecutor Lisa Page, plus all FBI communications regarding the Fusion GPS “Russia dossier” as well as all FBI communications with the FISA court.
Wray’s history with Comey
On Sept. 11, 2003, on being confirmed by the Senate as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, Wray worked under Deputy Attorney General James Comey.
While heading the Criminal Division, Wray oversaw the Enron Task Force, investigating among other issues the criminal malfeasance of auditor Arthur Anderson.
Sidney Powell, a former U.S. attorney whose 2014 book Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice is a shocking exposé of prosecutorial impropriety that she maintains still runs rampant today among Department of Justice prosecutors, warns that the Enron case was tarnished by a history of Department of Justice prosecutorial misconduct.
Powell focuses on the role played in the Enron prosecution by Andrew Weissmann, a DOJ prosecutor who is now part of Mueller’s team and is capable of extorting guilty pleas.
Noting on page 35 that Weissmann was the “driving force” behind the indictment of Arthur Anderson in the Enron case, Weissmann used the “special tactics” he developed prosecuting organized criminals, convinced that even if some of his special tactics went outside the bounds, the ends justified the means when prosecuting serious bad guys.
On page 410 of her book, Powell pointed that Weissmann forced Duncan into a guilty plea by misrepresenting to Duncan that his innocent conduct in the case was “criminal.”
Calling the DOJ prosecutors in the Enron case a “cabal” that came together in 2002, Powel charges that those involved in the Enron prosecution “emboldened and fed” each other’s worst traits (page 408).
“In their distorted pursuit of convictions and power, they sought to win at any cost. Only they know all of the evidence they withheld and all of the laws they broke to achieve their self-defined ends,” Powell charged.
“They have continued through the years to protect and encourage each other, and they have been promoted by Obama to positions of enormous power and influence despite their legacy of injustice,” she stressed.
“It would be unprecedented if the FBI used Democratic Party opposition research to obtain FISA court authorization for the NSA to conduct electronic surveillance on principals within Donald Trump’s GOP presidential campaign,” Jordan insisted.
“But if holding anti-Trump opinions was the reason Strzok was dismissed from Muller’s team, then 95 percent of Mueller’s team would have to be dismissed,” Jordan pressed, arguing there had to be another reason Mueller demoted Strzok.
Wray objected that FBI information prepared to support FISA court requests would be marked classified, and as such could not be released to Congress.
“Did Peter Strzok help produce and present the application to the FISA court to secure a warrant to spy on Americans associated with the Trump campaign?” Jordan asked.
“I’m not prepared to discuss what happened in the court,” Wray responded.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Rep. – VA, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee interrupted Jordan, pointing out to Wray that the committee would be happy to review in closed session the FISA court electronic surveillance recommendation Jordan requested.
The Washington Examiner noted Strzok was a top counterintelligence official at the FBI before joining Mueller’s Special Counsel team.
While at the FBI, Strzok played a role in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she served as secretary of state – a role that included rewriting then FBI Director Comey’s to change “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless,” as well as participating in the investigation of Gen. Michael Flynn.
“Let’s remember a couple of things about the dossier,” Jordan stressed, as reported by the Washington Examiner.
“The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, which we now know were one and the same, paid the law firm who paid Fusion GPS who paid Christopher Steele who then paid Russians to put together a report that we call a dossier full of all kinds of fake news, National Enquirer garbage and it’s been reported that this dossier was all dressed up by the FBI, taken to the FISA court and presented as a legitimate intelligence document — that it became the basis for a warrant to spy on Americans,” Jordon continued.
Pressed by Rep. Ted Poe, Rep.-TX, Wray refused to answer questions regarding how many U.S. civilians had been subjected to electronic surveillance under FISA court orders.
Again, Goodlatte interrupted to insist the FBI has refused consistently to answer this question – a question that the House Judiciary Committee could demand be answered in closed session, given the committee’s oversight responsibilities regarding the FBI.
Top DOJ official demoted
According to the Fox News report on Thursday, Bruce G. Ohr held two titles at DOJ: associate deputy attorney general, a post that placed him four doors down from his boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; and director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), a program described by the department as “the centerpiece of the attorney general’s drug strategy.”
”Fox News further reported Ohr will retain his OCDETF title but has been stripped of his higher post and ousted from his office on the fourth floor of ‘Main Justice.’”
Evidence collected by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes, Rep. – CA, indicates that Ohr met during the 2016 campaign with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the dossier.
After the election, Ohr met with Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, at a time when published reports indicate the dossier had been in the hands of the FBI for five months.
The Washington Post was among the first to report that the FBI agreed in October 2016 to pay the dossier’s author, Christopher Steele, for further work that might help its own investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
On Oct. 30, Infowars.com reported Special Counselor Robert Mueller’s case is in danger of being thrown out of court if it should be proved the FBI obtained FISA court permission to conduct electronic surveillance on former Trump campaign Paul Manafort, and/or on General Michael Flynn, based on the fraudulent Fusion GPS “Russia dossier” that the FBI, the Clinton campaign, and the Democratic National Committee paid to be produced.