Almost a month before Republicans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) chose to publicly release what was a classified and partisan memo written by intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) alleging Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses by the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ), Fox host Sean Hannity appeared to have advanced knowledge of some of the claims laid out in the Nunes memo. Almost a month prior to the memo’s public release, Hannity was hyping “shocking information … that will show systemic FISA abuse” and bragged that the media will “be forced to cover this story.”
Intelligence committee makes Nunes memo public, alleges FISA abuses against Trump campaign
Nunes memo alleges widespread intelligence gathering abuses during the 2016 presidential campaign. On February 2, Republicans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) authorized the public release of what was a classified memo, written by committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), alleging the FBI and Department of Justice abused their surveillance authorities while monitoring a Trump campaign aide during the 2016 election. In days leading up to the memo’s release, the FBI had issued a statement voicing its “grave concerns about material omissions of fact” in the memo and the DOJ had called the committee’s decision “extraordinarily reckless.” However, Republicans on the intelligence committee still decided to release the document, which apparently attempted to undercut the validity of the investigation into the president and his campaign’s possible coordination with the Russian government. The memo cited the Steele dossier (a document compiled by a former British Secret Intelligence Service officer, Christopher Steele), which it said was compiled “on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign,” as a central issue with the investigation, even though a counterintelligence investigation was already underway prior to the FBI being informed of Steele’s findings. From the Nunes memo:
The “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.
The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation of conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Peter Strzok. Strzok was reassigned by the Special Counsel’s Office to FBI Human Resources for improper text messages with his mistress, FBI Attorney Lisa Page (no known relation to Carter Page), where they both demonstrated a clear bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton, whom Strzok had also investigated. The Strzok/Lisa Page texts also reflect extensive discussions about the investigation, orchestrating leaks to the media, and include a meeting with Deputy Director McCabe to discuss an “insurance” policy against President Trump’s election. [U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, 1/18/18; U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legislative Affairs, 1/24/18; FBI.gov, 1/31/18; Newsweek, 2/2/18]
Hannity appeared to be in the loop on the Nunes memo weeks prior to its public release: “All this information about” the Steele dossier “will finally now see the light of day”
Hannity: “The DOJ will give House investigators access to all of the documents and all of the witnesses in … the dossier investigation. Now, all this means all this information … will finally now see the light of day.” On January 4, Hannity told his audience of his Fox News show, “The DOJ will give House investigators access to all of the documents and all of the witnesses in … the dossier investigation.” Hannity went on to tell viewers to “buckle up” because “all this means all this information … will finally now see the light of day.” From the January 4 edition of Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): We are also learning that the DOJ will give House investigators access to all of the documents and all of the witnesses in the Russia investigation and the dossier investigation.
Now, all this means, all this information about the Clinton, bought and paid for Russian propaganda, that fake news salacious dossier, the Russian dossier will finally now see the light of day. You got to buckle up. It's going to get very interesting. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/4/18]
Hannity: 2018 will be “the year of the boomerang. … it seems that there's been a dramatic turn of events that the media never expected.” On January 5, while discussing the special counsel’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, Hannity referred to 2018 as “the year of the boomerang” and asked his guest if “the media” has “look[ed] at Hillary Clinton funding a dossier” and whether that information was “used for a FISA warrant.” From the January 5 edition of Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): What do you make, Herman, of the -- what I call, this is the year of the boomerang.
All of these things now and Trump-Russia collusion dying out, it seems that there's been a dramatic turn of events that the media never expected. Did they ever admit at some point they were wrong about Trump and Russia? Do they look at Hillary Clinton funding a dossier full of lies, Russian propaganda, lies, and salacious material and say that could be collusion? Was it used for a FISA warrant? [Fox News, Hannity, 1/5/18]
Hannity: “More shocking information will be coming out in just days that will show systemic FISA abuse” and the media will “be forced to cover this story.” On January 10, Hannity teased “more shocking information [that] will be coming out in just a few days that will show systemic FISA abuse.” Hannity repeatedly referred to the “shocking information” as “the real story” and complained that “the media has not and will not cover” it. Later in the monologue, Hannity issued a warning, saying that the media will “be forced to cover this story” and added, “What we're reporting on is only the beginning tonight.” From the January 10 edition of Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): This is just huge breaking news. Sara Carter, who will join us in a minute, is reporting and we have confirmed with three separate sources that the Clinton-bought-and-paid-for fake news Russia propaganda dossier was, in fact, used in part to obtain FISA warrants to surveil members of the Trump campaign and Trump transition.
Now, this means that Hillary Clinton and the DNC -- remember the Donna Brazile said Hillary controlled the DNC? They paid millions and millions of dollars for what is a totally phony document full of Russian lies and propaganda that was then used by the Obama administration to surveil members of an opposition party and incoming president.
This is the same dossier that former FBI Director James Comey testified under oath as being salacious and unverified and that information is only the tip of the iceberg. Sara Carter reporting and we are also learning that more shocking information will be coming out in just days that will show systemic FISA abuse.
This is the real Russia scandal, the real Russia collusion story. Now, the dossier was used to target an opposition party and criminalize political differences. Now, that's the real story. That's what the media has not and will not cover and Democrats do not want you to know anything about.
But unfortunately, they'll be forced to cover this story. All of this is unprecedented in the history of this country. This is a sober moment. You need to understand this.
We're on the precipice of one of the largest abuses of power in U.S. American history. And I'm talking about the literal shredding of the U.S. Constitution. Your Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. It is that serious.
Now, this new information is confirming what we've now been saying and predicting for months on this show. The powerful tools of intelligence have now been politicized and used to influence a presidential election.
Now, make no mistake about this. This scandal will reach the highest levels of the Obama intelligence community, the DOJ, the FBI, and what we're reporting on is only the beginning tonight. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/10/18]
Hannity: “Information about systemic FISA abuse will also be exposed soon, maybe as early as next week,” and “a source is telling me this is going to all be proven right.” On January 11, Hannity hyped “information about systemic FISA abuse [that] will also be exposed soon,” and added that “a source is telling me” that complaints of FISA abuse are “going to all be proven right.” From the January 11 edition of Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Also, a big follow-up tonight to our exclusive reporting last night on the Clinton-bought-and-paid-for phony fake news Russian propaganda dossier with all of that salacious material that we have confirmed has been used, was used by the Obama administration to literally surveil members of the Trump campaign team and, of course, then president, or President-elect Donald Trump and members of his team.
Now, we have been all over the story from the beginning and just to give you an idea of just how serious this is, a source is telling me this is going to all be proven right. To quote him, “Hannity, you’re way over the target at low altitude,” and everyone else in the destroy-Trump media will be proven so wrong on so many levels, he said, “You can't even imagine how bad this is going to get.”
Now, in addition to the phony dossier being used to spy on members of the Trump campaign, Sara Carter is also reporting, and we have confirmed this, that information about systemic FISA abuse will also be exposed soon, maybe as early as next week. Now, surveilling the Trump campaign isn't the only incident. It goes way beyond that.
This is the real Russia scandal the media has never reported on. It has nothing to do with what the fake news media has been spoon-feeding the entire country for the past year about Trump-Russia collusion. It doesn't exist. There is no evidence. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/11/18]
Hannity: Nunes told colleagues that, “as soon as next week, examples of systemic FISA abuses will in fact be revealed.” On January 12, Hannity noted that Nunes “told Republican lawmakers that he has seen evidence showing clear abuse of government surveillance programs by the FBI and Department of Justice officials” and that Nunes “plans to share evidence of this abuse with the entire House later this month.” Hannity later claimed that he “confirmed” with his own “sources” that “examples of systemic FISA abuses will in fact be revealed.” From the January 12 edition of Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): HANNITY: All right. Massive breaking news this hour about the Clinton-bought-and-paid-for fake news Russian propaganda dossier, that of course was used by the Obama administration to obtain FISA warrants to surveil members of the Trump campaign and then the president-elect. Our own Ed Henry is reporting that in two closed door meetings this week, House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes that he told Republican lawmakers that he has seen evidence showing clear abuse of government surveillance programs by the FBI and Department of Justice officials.
Ed Henry is also reporting that Nunes told his colleagues that he plans to share evidence of this abuse with the entire House later this month.
Now, this is a major development but, as we have been saying, there is so much more information that needs to come out and it will because I'm telling you this is the beginning of a massive historic scandal. It's unfolding unlike anything this country has ever seen before.
This is going to reach the very highest levels of your government, including the DOJ, the FBI, the intel community. Sara Carter tonight reporting and we have confirmed with our sources that as soon as next week, examples of systemic FISA abuses will in fact be revealed. And the unbiased so-called journalists, well, they should be able to see this as the major story it is worthy of further investigation. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/12/18]
Hannity: The questions Rep. Jim Jordan is asking about the Steele dossier “are the same ones we've been asking. … the Obama administration politicized, weaponized America's powerful tools of intelligence.” On January 15, Hannity scrolled through a list of “questions” that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) had asked about the special counsel’s investigation, noting,“These questions are the same ones we've been asking.” Hannity added that “sources” told him “at first, the FISA warrant was denied to spy on members of the Trump campaign. … Then, the [Steele] dossier was used to put it over the top and they got the FISA warrant.” From the January 15 edition of Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Congressman Jim Jordan, he is seeing what's going with Mueller's partisan probe. He is one of a handful of lawmakers that is interested in the truth. He's been asking the right questions.
Take a look at the side of your screen. Congressman Jordan, will scroll slowly a list of 18 imperative, crucial questions that need to be answered. I urge you to take a close look at these. And we'll bring it up later on the show.
Here's a few that stand out. Was the dossier the basis for securing the FISA warrant to spy on a presidential candidate, and on an opposition party and on a president-elect? And why won't the FBI show Congress the FISA application? We know the answer.
We just learned last week, sources telling me, that at first, the FISA warrant was denied to spy on members of the Trump campaign, very rare for that to happen. Then, the dossier was used to then put it over the top and they got the FISA warrant.
We also need to know, did the FBI validate and corroborate that dossier? I'm being told that a Clinton supporter did. How would we trust them? These questions are the same ones we've been asking. Hillary Clinton bought and paid for it. She's going to have one of her sick, corrupt, cartel friends verify it?
Here's a key part. None of them have to do with Hillary Clinton's email server, by the way. This is just the 18 questions on one thing. It's only about the Clinton bought and paid for Russian propaganda dossier.
Let's see, we know for example that the Obama administration politicized, weaponized America's powerful tools of intelligence. Not the rank and file, just a few select at the top. Then there was spying on an opposition party, that would be Donald Trump. And what is being exposed is a massive abuse to the Constitution. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/15/18]