A former FBI agent spoke on the record, and admitted that the handling of the Carter Page FISA warrant was very unusual and did not follow protocol.
The news came after Rep. Doug Collins released the remaining transcripts from the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the DOJ and FBI handling of the Trump-Russia probe.
Red State reported that as we move closer and closer to the completion of the IG report on how the Trump-Russia investigation was handled, including the probable misuse of the FISA court, we are seeing more relevant Congressional testimony from top officials released.
One session revealed this week involves Trisha Anderson, an FBI lawyer who signed off on the Carter Page warrants. She testified in August of 2018 on her role and what she knew regarding how the process went down.
In her testimony, she alleges that the application process for the FISA warrant was handled in an “unusual” fashion and that numerous Obama era FBI officials were involved at the highest levels in pushing it through.
Watch the video:
Today I’m releasing the remaining interview transcripts from @JudiciaryGOP’s investigation into decisions made at the Department of Justice and FBI. To read the transcripts, visit https://t.co/EcAYT7JPdA. pic.twitter.com/kYy9YKSIZI
— Rep. Doug Collins (@RepDougCollins) May 20, 2019
A former top lawyer for the FBI described to lawmakers the “unusual” way the surveillance request targeting former Trump campaign associate Carter Page was handled by top leadership at the Justice Department and FBI, according to a transcript released this week.
In front of a joint session of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees on Aug. 31, 2018, former FBI Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson said she was normally responsible for signing off on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications before they reached the desk of her superiors for approval. Anderson said the “linear path” those applications typically take was upended in October 2016, with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates signing off on the application before she did. Because of that unusual high-level involvement, she didn’t see the need to “second guess” the FISA application.
The Page FISA application was filed by the Justice Department and FBI with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in October 2016. A surveillance warrant was granted and three renewals were subsequently approved. The FISA application relied heavily on unverified research in British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier on President Trump’s ties to Russia, which was compiled through his employment with opposition research firm Fusion GPS with funding from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through the Perkins Coie law firm.
Anderson said all FISAs need to be signed off on in the FBI’s National Security Law Branch, where she was assigned at the time. Anderson said she was the Senior Executive Service approver for the “initiation” of the Page FISA, including determining whether there is legal sufficiency.
But Anderson stressed “in this particular case, I’m drawing a distinction because my boss and my boss’ boss had already reviewed and approved this application.” She emphasized “this one was handled a little bit differently in that sense, in that it received very high-level review and approvals — informal, oral approvals — before it ever came to me for signature.”
Anderson said that FISA approvals are typically “tracked in a linear fashion” and that someone in the Senior Executive Service “is the final approver on hard copy before a FISA goes to the director or deputy director for signature.” She said the Page FISA was approved outside regular procedures.
“Because there were very high-level discussions that occurred about the FISA,” Anderson said she believed that meant “the FISA essentially had already been well-vetted all the way up through at least the Deputy Director [McCabe] level on our side and through the DAG [Yates] on the DOJ side.” Yates had already signed the application by the time it made it to Anderson’s desk.
The publicly available Page FISA documents show then-FBI Director James Comey also signed off on it.
Read more here.