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By John Ubaldi
Contributor, In Homeland Security
Recently, The Hill’s opinion contributor John Solomon said that a top FBI lawyer had met with a lawyer from Perkins Coie, the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) law firm, weeks before the 2016 election. They allegedly discussed Moscow’s alleged hacking activities and claims that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. However, all of this activity was before the FBI secured a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant targeting Carter Paige, a member of the Trump campaign.
Perkins Coie Also Used by Clinton Campaign
Solomon wrote that “Former FBI general counsel James Baker met during the 2016 election with at least one attorney from Perkins Coie, the Democratic National Committee’s private law firm, which is also the same firm that was used by the Clinton campaign.”
According to Fox News, Perkins Coie secretly paid the research firm of Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence official, to put together an uncorroborated intelligence dossier alleging that Trump and Russia colluded during the election. This collusion charges are currently under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team.
But since the Russian collusion investigation began, the Justice Department (DOJ) and the FBI have repeatedly fought to prevent the release of any evidence of how the FISA warrant application was obtained by citing national security needs.
House Intel Report Show’s Meeting Occurred, But Heavily Redacted
In April, the House Intelligence Committee’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election alluded to this meeting in a footnote. Unfortunately, this footnote was heavily redacted by intelligence officials who claimed that they twere protecting national security.
FBI General Counsel Baker Admits to DNC Law Firm Meeting
At the beginning of October, Baker made a stunning admission to Congress. In an unclassified meeting, Baker acknowledged that he had met with a top lawyer at Perkins Coie, where he learned of the allegations involving Russian collusion and hacking.
Also by John Ubaldi: Mid-Term Election Campaigns Aren’t Addressing National Debt
The DNC and the Clinton presidential campaign paid for this uncorroborated dossier. Payments were routed from the Clinton campaign and the DNC through Perkins Coie, then reported to the Federal Election Commission as legal services. The Clinton Campaign paid $6 million and the DNC paid $3.6 million for the dossier, according to Investor’s Business Daily.
Serious Questions for Justice and the FBI
Why did the DOJ and the FBI fight so vigorously against the release of the FISA warrant application? One has to assume that this document is in the same vein as the text messages between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, discussed by The Hill’s Solomon in September 2018.
Their exchanges show more political animus toward Trump than any real investigative evidence. That leads to other questions:
- Why would the FBI accept as valuable intelligence research produced by the Democratic Party to be used against a Republican Party’s candidate for president?
- Why would the DOJ and the FBI then use this research to obtain a FISA warrant without informing the FISA judges how it was obtained and funded?
- Why would the DOJ and the FBI use a FISA warrant to justify conducting surveillance on one party’s presidential nominee in the final days of a presidential campaign?
This revelation allegedly shows that the FBI knew that the dossier used to gain a FISA warrant was the product of opposition research.
Both DOJ and FBI Leadership Signed Off on FISA Warrant Application
Back in February, former FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Attorney General Sally Yates and then-Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente all signed off on the FISA warrant application.
As required by law, FISA orders must be renewed every 90 days with additional evidence to continue reauthorizing the warrant. However, in this case, no new evidence was presented nor were the FISA judges told how the dossier was obtained or who paid for it. The warrants were approved without a hearing.
Did the Obama administration ask the DOJ and the FBI to investigate Trump before he became president? However, the president would need to declassify all evidence related to the FISA application and all of its related investigations for us to get a better understanding of precisely what happened.