By Derrick Wilburn
“The Trump dossier” refers to that elusive collection of information that was supposed to bring Trump down. Said to contain everything from proof of “golden showers” with prostitutes in Russian hotel rooms, to evidence of collusion with Vladimir Putin. There’s just one problem surrounding the supposedly explosive “dossier” — it’s never been seen by anyone except those who produced the story of its existence.
Yet the dossier is — again — making headlines. Not because of damage it could do to Trump, but the damage it could do to Barack Obama and his “Justice” Department.
The Daily Caller News Foundation has run a story that’s shocking, to say the least. In it, the possibility — if not accusation — is presented that the dossier was a fictitious front the Obama DOJ used in order to secure surveillance warrants from U.S. courts to spy on the Trump campaign.
The Daily Caller, not known for excessive hyperbole, has pulled no punches in its description of the seriousness of the situation:
If the unsubstantiated dossier information was entered as verifiable information before a FISA court, the implications are “staggering,” former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova told TheDCNF.
That would mean the Obama administration pursued “a type of manipulation of intelligence data and false intelligence data to mislead a court,” diGenova said. “It’s staggering in terms of its implications.”
The possibility the Obama administration might use the unproven allegations before a FISA court “constitutes a crime of unbelievable dimensions,” he said, adding: “It requires the empanelment of a federal grand jury.”
Trump has long claimed that the Obama administration wiretapped his campaign headquarters, and last month it was revealed that one of his campaign advisors indeed was wiretapped under a secret order by the Obama administration. Could that action be the tip of the iceberg?
The Daily Caller explains:
Both the House and the Senate are investigating whether former President Barack Obama’s administration used intelligence in a salacious “Trump Dossier” as “evidence” before a secret federal surveillance court to obtain permission to spy on Donald Trump campaign aides and later his transition team.
Leaders in Congress are trying to find out if the Obama Justice Department and the FBI introduced the totally unsubstantiated material alleging unsavory connections between Trump and Russia before the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court, congressional aides told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The FBI used the dossier to secure permission to monitor the communications of Trump associate Carter Page, based on U.S. officials briefed on the Russia investigation, CNN reported in April.
The latest inquiries began Oct. 4, when the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence subpoenaed Fusion GPS, a political opposition research firm based in Washington, D.C., to appear before the committee and turn over bank documents. The committee is also seeking all Justice Department applications before the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court, also called the FISA court, to determine if any of the applicants rely on information from the dossier.
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked FBI Director Christopher Wray Oct. 4 if the FBI may have improperly presented any of the dossier information to the FISA court.
The presentation of evidence before the special surveillance court would have been FBI-generated documents delivered by Obama Justice Department attorneys, according to a congressional source familiar with evidence requirements before the court. At the time, FBI Director James Comey presided over the bureau and LyAttorney General Lorettanch oversaw the Justice Department.
Fusion GPS was the company behind the unsubstantiated dossier, and it was authored by Christopher Steele, a former British MI6 agent. Steele’s London-based company, Orbis Business Intelligence, compiled largely uncorroborated — and degrading — information on then-candidate Trump.
BuzzFeed published the dossier Jan. 10, despite a note at the top of the article noting “the allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors.” Six major news outlets possessed the dossier for six months, but none released it, according to Grassley’s Oct. 4 letter to the FBI.
House Democrats and Fusion GPS have denounced the House committee’s subpoena on procedural grounds because GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the committee’s chairman, issued the subpoena. Nunes stepped aside from the committee on the Russia inquiry but claims he retained all other chairmanship responsibilities, he stated last April.
Attorneys for the firm refused to honor the subpoenas On Oct. 16, informing the committee in a 17-page letter that Fusion GPS executives would invoke their “constitutional privileges” and refuse to testify or turn over any documents.
Two Fusion GPS executives refused to answer every question posed by the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. GPS Executives Peter Fritsch and Thomas Catan invoked Fifth Amendment privileges from being compelled to give self-incriminating testimony, according to a committee source. Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson will also be brought before the committee over the next few weeks.”
Here we go with the refusal to testify and invoking of the Fifth again. Kind of like all of the Clinton State Department employees when Congress wanted to know about smashing cell phones and laptops with hammers. What is it with these people and their refusal to level with the American people?
If it turns out to be true that a sitting president’s Justice Department actually faked information for the purposes of persuading a court to allow it to spy on a political rival, this could be Watergate-esque. The very words of President Obama himself will ring more true than ever: “The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth, are people with something to hide.”HIL