Politics

Trump Should Declassify FISA Warrants, Nunes Says

Rep. Jim Jordan contends 'everything that we saw in this' application proves 'what we’ve all been saying for seven months' was right

Image Credit: Gage Skidmore

Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, urged President Donald Trump Monday to declassify all of the FBI’s heavily redacted Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications to spy on Carter Page, the chief executive’s former 2016 campaign foreign-policy adviser.

“We want the president to take care of the rest of these redactions so that there’s full transparency and sunlight for everyone to see,” Nunes (pictured above left) told Fox News host Laura Ingraham in an exclusive interview on “The Ingraham Angle.”

Noting he was “really happy” the Department of Justice released 412 pages containing the FISA application warrant and its three renewals late Saturday, Nunes said he and his fellow Republican members of the committee have been “fighting for this for months.”

“There’s still a lot of redactions. We would like for all those to be unredacted so that the American public has a chance to see this in full transparency,” Nunes said.

Nunes insisted the FISA warrant and renewals vindicated him despite an onslaught of vilification from Democratic lawmakers and mainstream media members following the February release of his three-page memo outlining information in the FISA documents.

The committee chairman also severely criticized FBI officials for failing to disclose key information to the FISA court, as required by the bureau’s policies and procedural requirements — especially the fact that 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) paid for the dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.

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Related: This FISA Passage Points to the Heart of Mueller’s Collusion Case Against Trump

The FBI relied heavily in its FISA application on the anti-Trump Steele dossier, even though James Comey, the bureau’s former director, described it to Congress as “salacious and unverified.”

In a footnote, the bureau admitted that the unidentified Steele was hired to “conduct research regarding Candidate #1” and was “likely looking for information that could be used to discredit [Trump’s] campaign.”

The FBI FISA application referred to Trump as “Candidate #1.” Nunes pointed out that “they could have easily said that it was paid for by Candidate #2” in order to give the court needed context before making a decision on whether to approve extremely invasive surveillance by the government on an American citizen.

“[My critics] cannot deny what was the major point of [my] memo, was to say that the dossier was used in this application, and it made up the bulk of the FISA. Even with the redactions, you can see that that’s the case,” Nunes said. “In this case, not only did they use it, but they used it with information from the other candidate’s campaign, and it wasn’t verified.”

“If this is the way the FISA courts are going to behave, if this is that you can take political dirt, open up investigations into political campaigns — this is how a democratic republic falls apart. It’s just unacceptable,” Nunes emphasized.

Rep. Jim Jordan, a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Committee on the Judiciary, told Ingraham that “everything that we saw in this FISA application” proves “what we’ve all been saying for seven months” was correct all along.

“We know that the dossier was not validated. We know that [the FBI] didn’t tell the court who paid for it. And we know they didn’t tell the court that Christopher Steele was out leaking information” to the press, Jordan (pictured above right) said. “This is as scary as it gets. That’s why the Nunes memo was right on target.”

If the dossier alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia wasn’t important to the FISA process, then why did the FBI “lead with it?” Jordan said.

One of the liberals’ talking points, however, insists that the FBI had enough dirt on Page to submit FISA surveillance warrant requests and renewals without relying heavily on the dossier. But Nunes noted that the FBI had already interviewed Page after his energy business links with Russians came under the bureau’s radar, prior to his brief involvement with the Trump campaign.

Related: FBI Blew ‘Really Good Opportunity’ for FISA Warrant Transparency, Gowdy Says

Interviewing Page “would have been the place to start. You don’t open up an investigation into a campaign … and then turn around and get a FISA warrant so that you can grab a lot of information that had to have come from the campaign,” Nunes said.

But the FBI “did not want to tell the court that Carter Page actually had cooperated with the FBI in the past and that he had also — the Russians didn’t even want to recruit him because they thought he was an ‘idiot,'” Nunes added. “Those are the Russians’ words, not anybody else’s.”

“So there’s a lot of reasons to believe that Carter Page was not acting as some type of foreign agent,” Nunes claimed.

Regardless, Jordan insisted the FBI could have been transparent during the application process.

“Why not just say, ‘This document was paid for [by] the Clinton campaign?’ Just come out with it straight and tell the court? They wouldn’t do that,” Jordan said.

Nunes warned that “if the shoe was on the other foot,” then “you would have protests in the street, cars being blocked, fires in the street, tires being burnt, and I guarantee you all the heads would have rolled already at FBI and DOJ.”

“And you’d have all the major newspapers, all the major media say what a crime this was that this happened,” he insisted.

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