A Republican lawmaker from Texas says that while the American people have already had a significant glimpse into the shenanigans pulled by the FBI during the 2016 presidential election, we still haven’t seen the extent of the deception.
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) told Fox News this weekend that he was privy to classified material that proves that the FBI deliberately misled the FISA court – not only by omitting details about the political origins of the Steele dossier, but by withholding evidence that would have proved exculpatory for George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, and, ultimately, the entire Trump campaign.
In the interview, Ratcliffe reminded viewers that the FBI had premised the entire Trump investigation on the bar conversations of campaign aide Papadopoulos, who allegedly spilled his guts to an Australian diplomat in the late spring of 2016. In that conversation, Papadopoulos supposedly told the diplomat that Russia was in possession of emails from Hillary Clinton. The diplomat ran the information up the chain of command, and by mid-summer 2016, the FBI had opened a counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.
Ratcliffe, however, said that the FBI was in possession of information that would have contradicted what Papadopoulos told the diplomat, and that they did not bother to share that material – which would have gone against their narrative – with the FISA court when they were looking for surveillance warrants.
“Hypothetically,” Ratcliffe said, “if the Department of Justice and the FBI have another piece of evidence that directly refutes that, that directly contradicts that, what you would expect is for the Department of Justice to present both sides of the coin to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to evaluate the weight and sufficiency of that evidence.
“Instead,” he continued, “what happened here was Department of Justice and FBI officials in the Obama administration in October of 2016 only presented to the court the evidence that made the government’s case to get a warrant to spy on a Trump campaign associate.”
Ratcliffe is one of many Republican lawmakers in the House who are pushing President Trump to declassify a swath of documents from the investigation. Trump ordered that declassification last month, but wound up rescinding the order only a few days later after our foreign allies asked him to keep the material under wraps.
Ratcliffe understands the importance of guarding our national secrets, but insists that there is a way to release this information to the public without risk.
“My opinion is that declassifying them would not expose any national security information, would not expose any sources and methods,” he said. “It would expose certain folks at the Obama Justice Department and FBI and their actions taken to conceal material faces from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.”
The American people will get a close look at all of this stuff sooner or later; if the FBI and the DOJ knew what was good for them, they would be up front about it now instead of waiting for it to all come unraveled in their collective laps.