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domingo, 4 de febrero de 2018

Geraldo Rivera: The FISA memo could be the end of Mueller’s Russia investigation

Much to the dismay of Democrats, who wanted to keep it under wraps, President Donald Trump authorized the public release on Saturday of the so-called FISA memo, a House Intelligence Committee document which alleges corruption by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in obtaining warrants in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts.

Prior to its release, many suggested that the memo could spell the end of Robert Mueller’s special investigation into possible Trump-Russia collusion. Among them was Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera, who in a recent interview on Fox & Friends said, “This could be the death knell for the ‘Russiagate.’” 

But, does the released FISA memo contain what Rivera and others were looking for?

Fox & Friends

Rivera began Friday’s interview on Fox & Friends with a demand for the release of the FISA memo.

Rivera stated:

They should release the damn memo, excuse my language. It’s enough now. The American people deserve to know what is in it.

Rivera finally got his wish on Saturday.

For the remainder of Friday’s interview, however, he went on to discuss possible implications of the memo’s release, suggesting that it could be grounds for the dismissal of Mueller’s Russia investigation:

If indeed as it seems, this memo reveals the absolutely perverse fact that an unverified dossier, funded by the political rivals to the Republicans and to the president, was used to get a sacred FISA warrant to surveil an American citizen, then what that is — this is the fruit of the poison tree.

Anything that goes from that basically illegally-obtained warrant forward can be attacked legally and constitutionally. This is a very very serious thing. This could be the death knell for the “Russiagate” probe because of this absolutely profound mistake made at the beginning.

Rivera is referring to a procedural rule which disallows any evidence illegally obtained, or that is the “fruit of the poison tree.” In other words, if it is found that the FBI and DOJ obtained FISA warrants illegally, then any evidence that they have demonstrating Trump-Russia collusion will be inadmissible.

So, what does the memo have to say?

The FISA memo

As many expected, the memo suggests that the FBI and DOJ obtained the warrant by misleading the FISA court: though the infamous Christopher Steele dossier, paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, was the central reason for obtaining the warrant to surveil Trump’s foreign policy advisor Carter Page, the court was never informed of this.

But, more importantly, the Carter Page application was not what led to Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between Trump and Russia. Rather, the investigation was ignited by information from Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos:

The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos.

The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok.

It is unlikely that Mueller’s investigation will be shut down over the memo, but the four-page document reveals a lot of highly dubious behavior on the part of the DOJ and FBI. We will just have to wait and see how this plays out.