Following a report on a chain of emails between FBI officials regarding FISA applications for a Trump associate that may contain "the most damning evidence to date of potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)," President Trump brought up alleged FISA abuse in a series of tweets late Thursday.
On Wednesday, The Hill's John Solomon reported on emails recently requested for declassification by House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) that sources say could prove to be the smoking gun on FISA abuse by high-ranking FBI officials under Obama.
"The email exchanges included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division, and they occurred in early to mid-October, before the FBI successfully secured a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page," Solomon reports. "The email exchanges show the FBI was aware — before it secured the now-infamous warrant — that there were intelligence community concerns about the reliability of the main evidence used to support it: the Christopher Steele dossier. The exchanges also indicate FBI officials were aware that Steele, the former MI6 British intelligence operative then working as a confidential human source for the bureau, had contacts with news media reporters before the FISA warrant was secured."
Solomon's report has gained traction, including with Fox News, with Sean Hannity in particular promoting the report and inviting Solomon on his radio show Thursday to discuss the story.
While Trump didn't specifically cite Solomon, he addressed FISA abuse in a tweet quoting Fox Business Network's Trish Regan: "'Did the FBI follow protocol to obtain the FISA warrant? I don’t think so. The Dossier was opposition research funded by opponents. Don’t use Government resources to take down political foes. Weaponizing Government for gain,'" he wrote. "Is this really America? Witch Hunt!"
Trump also touched on the alleged FISA abuse in series of tweets blasting Robert Mueller's "witch hunt" on Friday.
"Will the scathing document written about Lyin’ James Comey, by the man in charge of the case, Rod Rosenstein (who also signed the FISA Warrant), be a big part of the Report?" he asked. "Isn’t Rod therefore totally conflicted? Will all of the lying and leaking by the people doing the Report, & also Bruce Ohr (and his lovely wife Molly), Comey, Brennan, Clapper, & all of the many fired people of the FBI, be listed in the Report? Will the corruption within the DNC & Clinton Campaign be exposed?"
Solomon brings up Comey, Rosenstein and Clapper in his report on the FBI email chain:
The addition [of the emails] to the [committee's] list also comes at a sensitive time, as House Republicans prepare on Friday to question Comey, who signed off on the FISA warrant while remaining an outlier in the intelligence community about the Steele dossier.
Most intelligence officials, such as former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, have embraced the concerns laid out in the Steele dossier of possible — but still unproven — collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Even without full access to the potentially declassified emails, what is already publicly known about the FISA warrant process is damning on its own, as The Daily Wire noted Thursday: "FBI officials that have since demonstrated a clear political bias used an unverified document produced as opposition research as rationale to secure multiple FISA warrants related to a presidential candidate representing the opposing party of the administration."
Solomon ends his report by saying it's time to put Comey and Rosenstein "under a public microscope," because they should have the answers to many of the pressing questions about the FISA warrants.