A bipartisan pair of congressmen on the House Intelligence Committee on Sunday urged the release of the FISA application that prompted surveillance that opened a federal probe on whether Russia was involved with President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Reps. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) agreed that the FISA application should be opened. Parts of the application have come under scrutiny following the release of a memo orchestrated by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).
Himes, appearing alongside Wenstrup on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said he supports the release of the FISA application, “if it could be redacted in such a way as to not be damaging.” Himes said a problem with the process is that conclusions and allegations are being drawn based off the application — which only Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) have seen.
“What Americans would see” is”dozens and dozens of pages citing all sorts of facts; you would see a very comprehensive project that gets put together by 10, 12 people at the FBI, then presented to a federal judge,” the Connecticut Republican said. “I would certainly support that release because then the American people would see how comprehensive the FISA application process is rather than the way it’s being characterized as secret, dark, behind closed doors.”
FISA is an acronym for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That 1978 law created a court that allows law-enforcement agencies to seek warrants for surveillance. The memo, which was released Friday, claims the FBI obtained and renewed surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page relying heavily on a dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
Democrats have argued that the memo aims to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into whether Russia colluded with Trump’s campaign.
Wenstrup agreed with Himes, adding: “We want to have our eyes on more.”
Wenstrup said the intelligence committee currently receives weekly briefs on the application.
“Open it up. This is what I keep talking about. Let’s shed light on what’s going on with the agencies that the taxpayers pay for, by the way,” the Ohio Republican said.
On ABC’s “This Week,” Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) said he doesn’t believe that the GOP memo is an attack on Muelleror “the men and women in the FBI.”
“What this is about is … should unverified information be able to be used to spy on an American,” said Hurd, who is also a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
He added that he doesn’t agree that the memo vindicated Trump in the Russia investigation and believes Mueller, the special counsel, should continue with his probe.
“I want to stress, Bob Mueller should be allowed to turn over every rock, pursue every lead so that we can have trust in knowing what actually the Russians did or did not do,” he said.