Rep. Devin Nunes, ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, warned the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court must take action against those that abused the system or risk “repercussions” in other future cases where abuse can be claimed.
In an exclusive interview Wednesday with SaraACarter.com Nunes, also said the current laws governing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants must be changed for the American people to gain trust in the system again.
He was specifically referring to abuse in the case of former Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. The committee revealed in their investigation last year, revealed the FBI and DOJ failed to disclose pertinent information to the court when they obtained a FISA and three renewal warrants on Page. Further, the FBI used unsubstantiated information from a dossier put together by former British Spy Christopher Steele, whose research was financed by the Hillary Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
“The FISC court should take action against the people who misled them,” said Nunes. “It’s impossible for the court to say that they were not misled.”
David Schoen, a criminal defense and civil rights attorney, said that the evidence clearly shows that the court was mislead and that the government failed to disclose that to the courts.
“The government was aware and failed to disclose material facts to the court in seeking the most intrusive possible surveillance orders,” he said. “The court clearly has the authority to hold any attorney who violated the rules in contempt and to impose additional sanctions.”
We’ve got a new Sheriff in town…
Further, a number of criminal referrals will be made to the Justice Department once William Barr is confirmed as Attorney General, he said. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who signed one of the renewal warrants to spy on Page, is expected to leave his position sometime after Barr’s confirmation. Rosenstein has been highly criticized for his role in initiating the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation.
“Only DOJ can clean up their own mess”
There is a high probability that criminal charges will be brought against those who abused the FISA system, Nunes added.
“Only DOJ can clean up their own mess,” said Nunes. “We can make referrals and if those referrals are actually taken up by the DOJ then we’ll get some type of fairness in the process.”
“So that’s first and foremost, which is why we’re going to wait for Barr to get in there. We’ve got a new Sheriff in town and someone who can really look at it with a fresh set of eyes,” he said.
The DOJ has the authority to take the information referred from the committee to the FISC judges as part of the investigation. It is the only way to remedy the serious abuse of the system discovered by his committee, he said.
He said the American people deserve a system that is free from abuse and above reproach.
“I don’t think we’ll have finality to this until people are brought to justice,” Nunes said. “I mean the big issues here are we need FISA to protect the American people. But we can’t have FISA the way it is because of the way it was abused. The laws have got to be changed. Rules and regulations have got to be put into place and these people have to be brought to Justice.”
Task Force Reconsituted
First, the committee will be combing through all the transcripts and expecting to call more than 40 witnesses to testify.
It will not be easy. Why? Because the Democrats have no desire to investigate the abuses of the FISC court. Instead, the Chairman Adam Schiff, D-CA, threatened future investigations will center on Trump’s personal finances and his family.
However, Nunes said the Republican’s are reconstituting the task force established last year between the three committees with jurisdiction. Those committees are the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, House Oversight Committee and House Judiciary Committee.
“This year we’ll take more of a formal approach,” he said. The task force will be led by Nunes, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio and Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia.
Asked if they already had people in mind for criminal referrals, Nunes said,”we very much do but I don’t want to get ahead of the task force on that.”