What may bring closure and relief to the non-stop hysteria, familiar to all of us as the investigation into President Trump’s alleged collusion with the Russians to influence the 2016 election, is a little known legal term known as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” This metaphor is used to describe evidence that is illegally obtained or tainted.

The poisonous tree in this instance is a bogus dossier, consisting of “salacious and unverified” dirt (former FBI Director Comey’s words) on Trump, compiled from raw Russian sources by Christopher Steele, a former British spy who was paid by the FBI from Democratic National Committee campaign funds. The FBI later terminated Steele’s services for lying.

The dossier was used by a gullible FBI hierarchy to obtain a wiretap from a FISA court on Carter Page, a volunteer Trump adviser, who has testified before the special counsel and is not charged with anything.

That bought dossier is a key piece in the Mueller counterintelligence investigation. According to a recent memo issued by Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Andrew McCabe, former deputy director of the FBI, testified that “no surveillance warrant would have been sought by the FBI without the Steele dossier information.” The Democratic response to Nunes’ memo has not challenged that assertion.

McCabe recently resigned from the FBI.

It is questionable whether the FISA court was told that the fictitious dossier was funded by one of Trump’s election opponents. The Carter wiretap was fueled by idle talk from another former Trump aide, George Papadolous, after a night of heavy drinking.

If any evidence gained from the dossier has been tainted, the “fruit” from it is also tainted and inadmissible in a court of law.

Walter J. Eno

Scarborough