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Why does Trump think the FISA warrant is proof of a ‘fake dirty dossier’?

The White House/Flickr @realDonaldTrump/Twitter (Public Domain) Remix by Jason Reed

The president says he’s vindicated. But his story has some holes.

President Donald Trump on Monday railed on Twitter over the release of the FBI’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant, which detailed why the government wanted to spy on his former campaign adviser Carter Page.

In a string of tweets quoting Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch—one of several media organizations that obtained the documents—Trump claimed the documents vindicated him, as well as showed that his opponents engaged in illicit activity.

But how people are reading the FISA warrant, as with anything in 2018, is wholly dependent on which narrative you prefer to align yourself with.

If you’ve believed the theory of Trump collusion with Russia, well, the document explicitly says “[t]he FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian Government [redacted] undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law.”

It also makes note that Page isn’t the only person possibly involved: “the FBI believes the Russian Government’s efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with [Trump’s] campaign.” It also says that Page met with a Russian official who claimed to have a damaging dossier of information on Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.

So what to make of Trump’s accusation that the “Fake Dirty Dossier” was “knowingly & falsely submitted to FISA”?

Well, that argument is the same that has been floating around conservative circles this whole year, and most everyone disagrees with that reading of the documents.

Of issue is what is also an important part of the dramatic Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) memo: That the identity of Christopher Steele and his funding were kept from FISA judges.

Steele is referenced in the warrant only as a U.S. person. Here’s the key bit that has conservatives up in arms.

The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign… Notwithstanding Source #1’s reason for conducting the research into Candidate #1’s ties to Russia, based on Source #1’s previous reporting history with the FBI, whereby Source #1 provided reliable information to the FBI, the FBI believes Source #1’s reporting herein to be credible.

In the warrant, as with most FISA warrants, the intelligence community goes to great lengths to not identify sources or U.S. citizens. In the warrant, Trump’s identity is concealed, as he is only referred to as “Candidate #1.”

Since the warrant concedes that the FBI used the dossier to bolster its case against Page, it’s now become a sign of a conspiracy against Trump.

In an appearance on Fox News this morning, Dan Bongino, who has pushed hard against the FBI, used government officials’ description of the dossier to discredit the FISA application.

The docs also further the deep-state narrative pushed by the right that officials are colluding to maintain the status quo. Breitbart and other organizations went after a State Department official who provided information to Steele.

Documents released on Saturday related to the wiretapping of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page reveal information that contributed to the government’s application to monitor Page originated with the State Department under the Obama administration in October 2016.

After his name surfaced in news media reports related to probes by House Republicans into the dossier, [Jonathon] Winer authored a Washington Post oped in which he conceded that while he was working at the State Department he exchanged documents and information with dossier author and former British spy Christopher Steele.

In the Post piece, Winer related that while he was at the State Department, he repeatedly passed documents from Steele related to Russia to State officials, including to Victoria Nuland, a career diplomat who worked under the Clintons and served as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs under Kerry.

But the dossier is not the only evidence presented in the warrant against Page, as noted by Democrats in Congress, who have been fighting this matter in both public and private.

Despite the cold facts out in the open, good luck swaying any who are convinced that the deep state is out to get Trump.

David Covucci

David Covucci

David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]