It’s common knowledge that the evidence presented to the FISA Court as reason to investigate Donald Trump and members of his campaign was from Trump hater foreign spy Christopher Steele.
We all know by now that Steele wrote up the dossier based on things he read online from a CNN message board. We also know the FBI never checked out any of Steele’s claims before presenting the information as “facts” to the FISA court.
We know now, that this kind of thing was commonplace under the Obama administration.
Now that Attorney General, William Barr had said in front of Congress that he believes the Obama administration spied on Trump’s campaign team and others illegally, the truth is finally starting to work its way to the surface. As the media pours over the Mueller report and attempts to defame AG Barr and anyone else who tries to tell the truth, transcripts from a closed door hearing with the FBI’s former Counterintelligence Director, Bill Priestap in front of Congress reveals way juicier details, including allegations of more than just spying for Obama officials.
Priestap’s testimony tells the story of an Obama administration that deliberately broke the law in the way it spied on Donald Trump. Priestap’s story, which was provided to Congress in a closed-door session in the summer of 2018, contains a litany of abuses.
Priestap served as assistant director for the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division from 2015 to 2018. During that time, he managed investigations that were considered politically sensitive, namely the investigation into Clinton’s email server abuses and the probe into the activities of Donald Trump in 2016.
Priestap’s testimony gives clear insights into what really happened during those investigations. In particular, they clarify numerous instances that show the wiretapping was both illegal and deliberate. Priestap describes the Obama administration as unconcerned that its activities could disrupt the electoral process, disinterested in following proper legal procedure, and determined to violate the privacy rights of Trump’s election team.
Priestap gave his testimony in June of 2018. The 219-page transcript of his testimony was just released to the public and is heavily redacted. But it contains key insights into the many privacy abuses of the FBI working under the Obama White House.
In one exchange, Priestap was asked, “Okay. So what were you doing in [REDACTED] in the [REDACTED] of 2016?”
Priestap replied, “I went to meet with a foreign partner, foreign government partner.”
The foreign partner he was referring to appears to be a member of British intelligence, perhaps Christopher Steele.
Democratic staff counsel, Valerie Shen, asked Priestap, “Does the FBI use spies?”
Priestap responded by asking, “What is your definition of a spy?
She responded with the same question, to which Priestap responded, “I’ve not heard of nor have I referred to FBI personnel or the people we engage with as – meaning who are working in assistance to us – as spies. We do evidence and intelligence collection in furtherance of our investigations.”
Shen appeared to be satisfied with that stock answer. She asked, “So in your experience, the FBI doesn’t use the term ‘spy’ in any of its investigative techniques?”
Priestap confirmed that the FBI indeed does not use the term “spy” when referring to foreign intelligence agents- especially those with whom the agency is working.
Shen asked, “With that definition in mind, would the FBI internally ever describe themselves as spying on American citizens?”
Priestap said that it did not.
To put it plainly, Priestap has confirmed that the FBI does do what would normally be referred to as spying, but it conceals these efforts by referring to spies and spying activities using words other than “spy” and “spying.”
When Shen asked if “political interference in the Department of Justice or FBI investigation [is] ever proper?,” Priestap replied, “In my opinion, I can imagine situations where it would be proper, that the national security interests of the country outweigh the law enforcement/prosecutive interest of the FBI and Department of Justice.”
Through a series of long, veiled exchanges like these- Priestap made the following claims:
- The FBI targeted Trump.
- The FBI cannot secure a FISAwarrant with information that isn’t credible or was obtained illegally.
- The FBI believes political interference in an investigation can be proper if it isn’t politically motivated.
- The FBI sent at least one asset to “spy” on the Trump campaign.
- The origin of the Trump-Russia narrative will never be clear until the part played by British intelligence is revealed.