'Sunday Morning Futures' host Maria Bartiromo speaks with legal expert Alan Dershowitz about the release of the original documents from the FISA warrant used to spy on Trump aide Carter Page during the 2016 election:
MARIA BARTIROMO, FNC: Today, the Justice Department released top secret documents on the FISA warrant sought for the Trump campaign aid Carter Page. The release of the heavily redacted 412-page report comes in response to several Freedom Of Information Act lawsuits. It shows the FBI relied on the discredited Steele dossier as a major component to apply for surveillance warrant on Carter Page, for his part Page is maintaining his innocence. My next guest is the author of the new book, "The Case Against Impeaching Trump," Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz joins me right now and Alan, good to see you this morning. Your reaction to what we've received, in terms of this FISA warrant, redacted every page, massive black spots. What do you think?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Well, I'm used to seeing redacted information. I would say 90% of redactions are generally designed to cover people's incompetence, and they're not national security and I think you should have an objective neutral person go through the redactions and always err in favor of publicly releasing, transparency rather than secrecy, but what it also shows us is that there is potentially a violation of the United States Supreme Court decision called Franks vs. Maryland and that case says when you make an application for a warrant you have to be truthful, and if you omit important information or fail to disclose information that might discredit the source, there's a real legal problem.
And here, of course, we know that the Steele dossier, we know how it was obtained we know the circumstances, and the FISA court didn't know those pieces of information, should have known it, and the question really is, was there other information sufficient beyond the Steele dossier to justify intruding on the privacy rights of an American citizen? We don't know enough yet to answer that question.
BARTIROMO: Well, we know that one other piece of information used was a Yahoo! article about the Steele dossier, so it was all based on the Steele dossier and then they re-upped it, and they had to get additional sign-offs on it, three times with the same information. Normally when you go to re-up a warrant you have new information, based on the dossier.
Look, is it high time we all admit that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign because it was a political enemy and there was an election?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Well I'd like to know more about that. That's why right from day one I called for an independent non- partisan expert investigating commission that would look at the entire 2016 election, ranging from Comey's statements to Strzok to whether the Obama administration put a spy in the camp, all of these things are relevant to all Americans and they're non-partisan. We want to see fair elections. We don't want to see the thumb of any FBI agents, Justice Ddepartment officials, Russia, Comey. We don't want to see that thumb. Even a pinkie on the scale of our election.
BARTIROMO: So what happened to this, it certainly doesn't feel good. It feels like its rigged. This whole thing, what happens now when you're in your estimation, based on what we know from Peter Strzok, what we know about the hearings in terms of Lisa Page and of course all of these texts?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Well, we'll see first of all whether any of this appears in Mueller's report. There is going to be a report, but there are also indictments and some contested cases and in the contested cases lawyers have a gold mine to work with, defense lawyers, challenging this FISA application, challenging Strzok's objectivity. All of this will become a basis for legal proceedings and legal challenges. We've already seen Judge Ellis in Virginia question the special counsel, wonder whether or not are they only trying to make people sing but also make them compose.
The process is a very flawed one, and the more the American people know about it, the more distressed they are at how special counsels operate, particularly in the context of political elections. We need to know more not less. We need less redaction, more transparency, and we have the right to judge for ourselves whether our system of justice is operating fairly, within the constitution, and consistent with civil liberties.
Right now there are more questions than answers.