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FBI’s ‘central evidence’ To Spy On Trump Campaign Was Russian Disinformation, Declassified IG Footnotes Reveal

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Partially declassified footnotes from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s FBI report reveal that the most ‘central and essential’ evidence to justify surveillance of short term Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page was based on Russian disinformation, according to newly declassified footnotes.

In January, U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a classified letter questioning the contradiction between the footnotes and what was made public by Horowitz’s team regarding the bureau’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation. The letter was first reported by SaraACarter.com. In January, the senator’s did not disclose what section of the December FISA report contradicts the footnotes in their findings.

The declassification came at the request Grassely and Johnson, whose committees have been dedicated to uncovering the truth regarding the FBI’s malfeasance during the bureau’s probe into President Donald Trump’s campaign and its now debunked theory that campaign officials colluded with Russia. Those footnotes deal directly with the evidence collected by the FBI from former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, whose salacious and debunked dossier was the bulk of information used to seek a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to spy on Page.

Johnson, who spoke to this reporter Friday said that the American people deserve the whole truth and that revelations in the partially declassified footnotes reveals that some members of the FBI’s top echelon “were total and complete snakes.” Johnson told this reporter Friday that he expects further declassification of the footnotes by early next week.

Johnson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs,  credits his committee staffers with the extraordinary find after long hours of combing through every detail of Horowitz’s report. The Senator also published Opinion Editorial on Friday with the Wall Street Journal stating that “Chuck Grassley and I began pressing Attorney General William Barr, and eventually acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, for full declassification of these footnotes. That’s why they’re now public.”

Page, who filed a lawsuit in January against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and law firm Perkins Coie over the unsubstantiated Steele dossier, questioned Friday why the details have never been disclosed before. The DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign paid the now embattled research firm Fusion GPS to investigate Trump and any ties to Russia. The entities did so through the law firm as a cut-out.

“Why have all these details remained unnecessarily secret for so long? In our dual system of Justice, the Mueller Witch Hunt crew falsely misrepresented my own “historical contact with persons and entities suspected of being linked to RIS, when I was actually serving my country in support of the U.S. Intelligence Community,” Page told this reporter. “The time has finally come for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and related agencies to release the full facts about the Obama-Biden Administration’s election interference campaign against candidate Trump and the illicit coup attempt against our President.”

In the Fall of 2016 the FBI obtained a secret warrant to spy on Page, the warrant was renewed  in April and in June of 2017, “raising questions about when exactly the FBI received and reviewed these new intelligence reports, and what it did with them,” stated a press release from Johnson and Grassley.

Citing the IG report, the FISA court ordered the FBI to explain how it will take corrective action on the FISA process.  A subsequent IG audit of the FBI procedures to ensure accuracy of FISA applications found errors in 29 unrelated applications, prompting the court to order more information from the FBI.

According to Grassley and Johnson the footnotes, “reveal that, beginning early on and continuing throughout the FBI’s Russia investigation, FBI officials learned critical information streams that flowed to the dossier were likely tainted with Russian Intelligence disinformation.”

Despite the evidence showing Moscow’s spy network played a role in spreading deceptive and false information, the FBI none-the-less “aggressively advanced the probe anyway, ignoring internal oversight mechanisms and neglecting to flag the material credibility concerns for a secret court.”Moreover, the FBI officials involved in the probe against Trump continued to use the Russian disinformation to target Trump’s campaign and his administration after discovering it was based on patently false information and lies.

“It would eventually spill over into the years-long special counsel operation, costing taxpayers more than $30 million and increasing partisan divisions – all based on faulty evidence,” said Grassley and Johnson in a statement released Friday. “In the end, the special counsel concluded that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia.”

The Senator’s added that “had FBI leadership heeded the numerous warnings of Russian disinformation, paid attention to the glaring contradictions in the pool of evidence and followed long-standing procedures to ensure accuracy, everyone would have been better off. Carter Page’s civil liberties wouldn’t have been shredded, taxpayer dollars wouldn’t have been wasted, the country wouldn’t be as divided and the FBI’s reputation wouldn’t be in shambles.”

“It’s ironic that the Russian collusion narrative was fatally flawed because of Russian disinformation,” the Senators stated. “These footnotes confirm that there was a direct Russian disinformation campaign in 2016, and there were ties between Russian intelligence and a presidential campaign – the Clinton campaign, not Trump’s.”

From Grassley and Johnson’s Press Release Friday 

The IG report detailed how the FBI’s application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Page relied heavily on an unverified dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele on behalf of Fusion GPS, which was conducting opposition research for the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

  • According to Footnote 302, in October 2016, FBI investigators learned that one of Steele’s main sources was linked to the Russian Intelligence Service (RIS), and was rumored to be a former KGB/SVR officer.  However, the FBI neglected to include this information in its application, which the FISA court approved that same month. Two months later, investigators learned that Glenn Simpson, the head of Fusion GPS, told a Justice Department attorney that he assessed the same source “was a RIS officer who was central in connecting Trump to Russia.” In January, the FISA warrant was renewed.
  • Footnote 350 states that, in 2017, the FBI learned that intelligence reports “assessed that the referenced subset [of Steele’s reporting about the activities of Michael Cohen] was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate U.S. foreign relations.”
  • That same footnote (footnote 350) states that a separate report, dated 2017, “contained information … that the public reporting about the details of Trump’s [REDACTED] activities in Moscow during a trip in 2013 were false, and that they were the product of RIS ‘infiltra[ing] a source into the network’ of a [REDACTED] who compiled a dossier of information on Trump’s activities.”

The surveillance warrant against Page was renewed two more times – in April and in June of 2017 – raising questions about when exactly the FBI received and reviewed these new intelligence reports, and what it did with them. Grassley and Johnson expect the footnotes to be further declassified in the coming days.

Citing the IG report, the FISA court ordered the FBI to explain how it will take corrective action on the FISA process.  A subsequent IG audit of the FBI procedures to ensure accuracy of FISA applications found errors in 29 unrelated applications, prompting the court to order more information from the FBI.

The declassified footnotes were contained in an April 2, 2020, letter from the Justice Department responding to Grassley and Johnson’s January 28, 2020, inquiry.

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Multiple states launch lawsuit against Biden’s student-loan forgiveness plan

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Breaking Thursday, the states of Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, and South Carolina joined together to file a lawsuit against President Biden’s administration in order to stop the student loan-forgiveness program from taking effect.

“In addition to being economically unwise and downright unfair, the Biden Administration’s Mass Debt Cancellation is yet another example in a long line of unlawful regulatory actions,” argued the plaintiffs in their filing.

The attorneys general spearheading the legal challenge also submit that “no statute permits President Biden to unilaterally relieve millions of individuals from their obligation to pay loans they voluntarily assumed.”

Biden, however, has argued that he is able to unilaterally cancel student debt to mitigate the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, writes National Review, a Department of Education memo released by his administration asserts that the HEROES Act,  which passed in 2003 and allows the secretary of education to provide student-debt relief “in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency,” provides the legal basis for the cancellation.

But, National Review notes that the plaintiffs point out that Biden declared in a recent 60 Minutes interview that “the pandemic is over.”

The legal brief also adds:

“The [HEROES] Act requires ED [Education Department] to tailor any waiver or modification as necessary to address the actual financial harm suffered by a borrower due to the relevant military operation or emergency… This relief comes to every borrower regardless of whether her income rose or fell during the pandemic or whether she is in a better position today as to her student loans than before the pandemic.”

Moreover, they argue that the HEROES Act was designed to allow the secretary to provide relief in individual cases with proper justification.

The first lawsuit against Biden’s executive order came Tuesday from the Pacific Legal Foundation:

“The administration has created new problems for borrowers in at least six states that tax loan cancellation as income. People like Plaintiff Frank Garrison will actually be worse off because of the cancellation. Indeed, Mr. Garrison will face immediate tax liability from the state of Indiana because of the automatic cancellation of a portion of his debt,” wrote PLF in their own brief.

The state-led lawsuit was filed in a federal district court in Missouri, and asks that the court “temporarily restrain and preliminarily and permanently enjoin implementation and enforcement of the Mass Debt Cancellation,” and declare that it “violates the separation of powers established by the U.S. Constitution,” as well as the Administrative Procedure Act.

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