Did the Obama DOJ use the Steele dossier to get the FISA warrant?
Sara Carter reports that the Obama Justice Department obtained a FISA warrant to search or monitor the activities of persons involved in the Trump campaign based on the opposition research, known as the dossier, paid by Hillary and the DNC. The dossier has been challenged as unverified and unreliable. It is not clear to what extent the dossier was used.
This raises the important issue of whether the Obama DOJ application for the warrant met the standards of probable cause under the Fourth Amendment to our Constitution. In Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108 (1964), the Court stated that the standard to apply when the facts necessary for probable cause are based on an informant and not the direct knowledge of the officer swearing the affidavit for probable cause is as follows:
Although an affidavit supporting a search warrant may be based on hearsay information and need not reflect the direct personal observations of the affiant, the magistrate must be informed of some of the underlying circumstances relied on by the person providing the information and some of the underlying circumstances from which the affiant concluded that the informant, whose identity was not disclosed, was creditable or his information reliable.
The procedure for a warrant is that the FBI prepares the application for the warrant, then the application is reviewed by the Department of Justice to ensure compliance with the law.
The FBI and DOJ describe the area or person to search, the reasons for the search, and the reasons for probable cause.
The FISA application has to be approved by the attorney general, which at the time meant Loretta Lynch. Probable cause is required if the target is a U.S. person.
If the dossier was used to any degree to obtain the FISA warrant, then the Obama DOJ and FBI relied on the information supplied by an "informant" – in this case, Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS – responsible for the dossier. The Obama official who signed the application did not have personal knowledge of the facts. He made the application based on the allegations in the dossier, therefore the application had to establish the reliability of Steele and Fusion GPS, who compiled the dossier.
The application or affidavit of probable cause must have disclosed why the Obama DOJ believed that the Steele dossier was credible. The reliability of an informant is usually based on the informant having provided reliable information in the past. This is not the case here, because there is no evidence that the dossier was used for another warrant and found reliable.
The Obama DOJ should have disclosed to the FISA court that the dossier was prepared by an ex-British spy; the amount he received to compile the dossier; and, most important, who paid the money. The Court should have been informed of the reliability of Fusion GPS and the amount paid to Fusion. The Court should have been informed that Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid Fusion for the dossier through a law firm.
The FISA court would have had to evaluate why the Obama DOJ is using information paid for by Hillary Clinton to spy on the Trump campaign. Clinton paid the Perkins Coie law firm $12.4 million. Perkins then paid Fusion GPS, which paid Steele. The Court should have been informed of this to evaluate the credibility of Fusion, Steele, and the Russian informants.
Further, it appears that Steele relied on information from Russian informants, who may have been paid by Fusion or Steele.
This raises a double-hearsay issue. The Obama DOJ relied on Steele, who relied on Russian informants. The Obama DOJ should have informed the FISA court why the Russian informants are reliable in addition to why Steele and Fusion are reliable.
If the application does not meet the standards of probable cause, then all evidence obtained pursuant to the warrant, and evidence that can be connected to the warrant, cannot be used in a criminal prosecution. This is called "fruit of the poisonous tree," which means that if the warrant is bad, then all the evidence obtained is tainted and cannot be used. There are exceptions, such as if it was discovered from a source independent of the illegal activity or if its discovery was inevitable (Silverthorne v. USA, 251 U.S. 385 ).
This is important because Mueller is probably using evidence developed by use of the FISA warrant. If Mueller wants to use the evidence, then he has to prove that the warrant was lawfully obtained, which means he has to prove that the dossier was reliable. Or Mueller has to prove that he would have discovered the evidence without the warrant, which would be difficult. Or Mueller has to prove he obtained it form another source, not the warrant or the dossier.
It seems that all roads lead to the dossier. Mueller, as an officer of the court, should disclose whether he is using evidence obtained pursuant to the warrant. Did he use such evidence to prosecute Michael Flynn?
The Dems and mainstream media ridiculed President Trump when he said Obama "had my wires tapped at Trump Tower." The facts now show that Obama, through his DOJ and FBI, did authorize spying on the Trump campaign. Obama's attorney general, Lynch, had to approve the application for the warrant, which means she had to agree that the dossier was reliable. It is not credible that Lynch approved the FISA application without approval from Obama.
Trump was correct on the essential spying, if not the specific means.
Obama used information gathered and paid for by Hillary to attempt to discredit Trump.