The author of the four-page memo that was released last week is considering asking U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts for answers about the alleged FISA abuse.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes wants to talk to Roberts about the issue because he appoints judges to the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court through which the FBI obtained warrants to spy on Carter Page and the Donald Trump campaign, the Washington Examiner reported.
“This is something that we have, like I said, we have thought a lot about this,” Nunes told radio host Hugh Hewitt. “And the answer is we don’t know the correct way to proceed because of the separation of powers issue.”
“I’m not aware of any time where a judge has, for lack of a better term, testified before the Congress,” he added.
Last Friday, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the four-page memo drafted by Nunes, which outlines surveillance abuses by the Obama administration’s intelligence community directed at Trump’s campaign and his associates during the 2016 race and the transition.
Specifically, the memo alleges that the FBI relied heavily on the infamous and unverified Trump-Russia dossier — commissioned by liberal opposition research firm Fusion GPS and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee — to obtain FISA warrants to surveil the Trump team.
“(The Committee’s) findings…1) raise concerns with the legitimacy and the legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) without the Steele dossier information.” (FISC), and 2) represents a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from the abuses related to the FISA process,” wrote Nunes.
According to Nunes, the “next step” would be to send a letter to the Supreme Court, but he hasn’t decided if they will ask the Supreme Court or the FISC to testify on the issue.
“If, somehow, this case ends up at the Supreme Court, somehow, some way, by sending a letter to Roberts, do you conflict the court?” he asked.
Hewitt responded that having the chief justice comment on the issue was one thing, but having him testify might be taking things a little too far, according to the Washington Examiner.
Democrats and the FBI have claimed that the memo released last week does not include the right context and “paints a false narrative.”
In a newly declassified criminal referral addressed to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina seem to back up the memo’s claims.
The FISA surveillance applications, the senators wrote in the letter, “relied heavily on Mr. Steele’s dossier claims.”
The lawmakers were referring to former British spy Christopher Steele, a one-time FBI source who Fusion GPS hired to put together the dossier. The criminal referral — dated Jan 4, 2018 — indicated that Steele’s dossier claims should not have been trusted.
“(I)t appears the FBI relied on admittedly uncorroborated information, funded by and obtained for Secretary Clinton’s presidential campaign, in order to conduct surveillance of an associate of the opposing presidential candidate. It did so based on Mr. Steele’s personal credibility and presumably having faith in his process of obtaining the information,” the referral read. “But there is substantial evidence suggesting that Mr. Steele materially misled the FBI about a key aspect of his dossier efforts, one which bears on his credibility.”
Grassley and Graham wrote that FBI indeed included a footnote on the FISA application where it “noted to a vaguely limited extent the political origins of the dossier.” However, the lawmakers claimed there was no mention of the Clinton campaign or the DNC.
With controversy raging over the validity of the Nunes memo, Democrats on the intelligence committee have created another memo that rebuts many of Nunes’ claims. The committee voted unanimously to release the Democrat memo on Tuesday. The White House must now decide whether or not to make this new memo public.
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