FISA Court Confirms Two Carter Page Surveillance Applications ‘Not Valid’
DOJ says surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Page lacked evidence
BREAKING: Spy Court Admits FISA Warrants Against Carter Page Were ‘Not Valid’
This is a nice development coming up in the midst of the Impeachment Theater. Kinda like a big fish thrown onto the stage while Schiff and Nadler are trying to peddle their warmed over Russia Hoax lies.
UPDATE: Commenter Cassander raises the question of whether a "fruit of the poisonous tree" problem could arise as a result of the FISC's opinion. Here's what that means:
Fruit of the poisonous tree (objection) is a legal metaphor in the United States used to describe evidence that is obtained illegally. The logic of the terminology is that if the source (the "tree") of the evidence or evidence itself is tainted, then anything gained (the "fruit") from it is tainted as well.
So, evidence obtained illegally is "fruit" of a poisonous tree. It should be excluded from evidence and, if use of such evidence is discovered after the fact, it could lead to a conviction being overturned.
This issue is raised in the article from The Federalist that I linked above. I'm not willing to bet that this issue will arise with regard to any of the Team Mueller cases. For example, in the Flynn case, Flynn's conversation with the Russian ambassador would have been picked up through standard FISA's on the Russian Embassy--no need for the Carter Page FISA. We'll just have to wait to learn more.
However, there is another issue, which could be quite important. Here's the relevant passage from The Federalist:
The FISA court order also noted that it is a federal crime for any federal official to “intentionally…disclose or use information obtained under color of law by electronic surveillance, knowing or having any reason to know that the information was obtained through electronic surveillance not authorized” by law. The following sentence of Boasberg’s ruling is redacted, raising questions about whether the government used any information obtained pursuant to the now-invalid Page surveillance warrants in other cases.
The author, Sean Davis, suggests that Judge Boasberg is referring to potential fruit of the poisonous tree problems. That's a natural assumption, given Boasberg's wording, but there's another possibility that should not be discounted, which is this: the use of "information obtained under color of law by electronic surveillance" in the form of leaks intended to cause political harm. Obviously, President Trump and his notoriously "leaky" White House comes to mind. Is it possible that some of those leaks derived, not from WH employees, but from the illegal Carter Page FISAs? I say, Yes, it's entirely possible.
Moreover, unlike in the case of "fruit of the poisonous tree," in the case of leaks it doesn't actually matter whether any "federal official" who leaks that information "knew or had reason to know" that the FISA was illegal. It's illegal to leak such information, period--whether the FISA was legal or not.
Who would like to know what John Durham has been talking about with disgraced former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who submitted forged documents to the FISC? I know I would! I'm betting that, either directly to Clinesmith or through Clinesmith's lawyer, Durham is reminding Clinesmith he's going to face a huge problem when it comes to sentencing. Most judges, no matter how broadminded, lose all sense of humor when confronted with a lawyer who has submitted a forged document to obtain a warrant of any sort. Clinesmith has already forfeited his legal career, but he's going to need all the help he can get if he wants to minimize his time in jail. I'm betting that Durham wants to know everything Clinesmith knows about all wrongdoing at Team Mueller--including whether any of its leaks derived from the Carter Page FISA. Durham has one helluva hammer to hold over Clinesmith.
Further, depending on what Clinesmith has to say--or has already said--Team Mueller and its members could find themselves implicated in a broader conspiracy. Remember how Comey opened an "enterprise" investigation against Flynn, Page, Manafort, and Papadopoulos? The same thing could happen to Team Mueller--a criminal "enterprise" within DoJ conspiring to defraud the government of their honest services.
And I doubt that Clinesmith is the only person caught up in this net. Interesting times, and getting more interesting by the day. No wonder GOP senators are doing crossword puzzles instead of paying attention to the Dem "managers."