Presumably as evidence that the investigation was in fact politically motivated, Breitbart and others note that the FISA court “uncharacteristically” turned down the Justice Department’s surveillance request. Breitbart is right that the FISA court rarely turns Justice down flat. But it often sends Justice back to do more work or to limit the request. Call it a soft rejection. According to a letter by the Chief Judge of the court, soft rejections happen to about a quarter of all requests. (The letter has since disappeared from its original location but can be found here.

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