The Department of Justice has concluded that the Obama-era FBI should have discontinued its surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page far earlier than they did, and that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court was shown insufficient evidence to show that Page was a foreign spy, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The DOJ delivered its conclusion to the FISA court in December filing unsealed on Thursday.
The Justice Department now appears to have concluded that there was “”insufficient predication to establish probable cause” in the last two renewals in 2017. Probable cause is the legal standard to obtain a secret warrant against suspected agents of a foreign power. The letter is classified, but is referenced in a new order declassified by a judge on Thursday. The Justice Department said it would sequester all the material it collected against Mr. Page pending further internal review of the matter. -Wall Street Journal
"The court understands the government to have concluded, in view of the material misstatements and omissions, that the court's authorizations in (two applications) were not valid," wrote Judge James Emanuel Boasberg, a federal district judge in Washington who also sits on the FISA court.
As The Federalist notes, this could have far-reaching consequences for special counsel Robert Mueller's findings.
"The final warrant against Page overlapped with former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The final three-month authorization to spy on Page was signed nearly six weeks after Mueller was appointed, meaning that Mueller may have had real-time access to and utilized nearly five months worth of surveillance of Page during the course of Mueller’s investigation. If his office used any of the information in subsequent cases, the declaration that the final two spy warrants against Page were invalid could potentially nullify previous or future convictions sought by Mueller’s office."
In a blockbuster ruling, the FISA court declared that least two of the four Carter Page spy warrants were illegal, meaning ANY evidence collected from that surveillance is now invalid.— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) January 23, 2020
This could have huge implications for every case brought by Mueller. https://t.co/XIIVBKf7XI
Judge Boasberg set a Jan. 28 deadline for the government to show the court what steps they have taken to avoid similar abuses in the future.