The U.S. Justice Department just filed court documents arguing that Trump has no idea what he's talking about
One of the most popular arguments on the right to excuse President Donald Trump from wrongdoing ahead of any findings from the Russia investigation is to claim that the investigation itself is corrupt — and these arguments typically center on the idea, with no evidence whatsoever, that the FBI lied to the judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court when pursuing a warrant to probe Trump's presidential campaign.
Trump himself has made this claim on Twitter, saying that "the Trump Campaign for President was illegally being spied upon" for "the political gain of Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC," and that "the DOJ, FBI and Obama Gang need to be held to account" because they "Misled the Court to provide a pretext to SPY on the Trump Team." And he even recklessly moved to declassify sensitive documents surrounding the surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, in the attempt to try to prove this misconduct.
But Trump is wrong. And in fact, he is so stunningly wrong that his own lawyers with the Department of Justice had to take the extraordinary step of saying, in a filing to the D.C. District Court for a Freedom of Information Act case, that Trump essentially has no idea what he's talking about on FISA classification, and that what he says on Twitter cannot be presumed to be evidence of anything:
Also DOJ: When President Trump quotes somebody on Twitter accusing his government of wrongdoing, that "cannot be as… https://t.co/k6Ibgpt3z9— Brad Heath (@Brad Heath)1543618164.0
DOJ's argument that the president shouldn't be presumed to know what he's talking about is a pretty remarkable one,… https://t.co/tKGUBfakXg— Brad Heath (@Brad Heath)1543618580.0
The idea that the FBI misled FISA judges to get a warrant against the Trump campaign has been debunked by the release of the FISA applications, revealing that there was a perfectly solid legal basis to investigate Carter Page amid his suspicious travel to Russia.
But this narrative persists among Trump's political allies, and in the right-wing echo chamber. Outgoing House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) released a flimsy, partisan memo that claimed to prove FISA wrongdoing. Meanwhile, right-wing commentators like Sean Hannity have enthusiastically called for heads to roll at the FBI over the supposed lies in FISA court.
Thus, it would seem the short form of the DOJ's argument in this filing is: Mr. President, lay off the Fox News.