by Chuck Ross
Republicans for months have pressed the Justice Department to turn over classified emails that show that the FBI “withheld evidence” from the federal court that authorized surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday.
California Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the Intelligence panel, said in an interview on Fox News that Republicans have recently added the documents to a list of records that they hope President Donald Trump will declassify.
“For months, we have been reviewing emails between FBI and DOJ and others that clearly show that they knew of information that should have been presented to the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] court. It is real evidence that people within the FBI withheld evidence from the FISA court,” Nunes said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo.
Nunes did not further describe the documents, except to say that some contain information that remains redacted, even from congressional review.
The issue has gone “to the highest levels” of Congress, with House Speaker Paul Ryan “requesting the Department of Justice to give us those emails, to give us as many of those as possible,” Nunes said.
“Even though we know what’s in those emails, a lot of them are still redacted. So they’re still refusing to give Congress even in a classified setting this information,” he added.
Nunes and a small group of Republicans on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees have led an investigation of sorts into the FBI and Justice Department’s handling of the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
Republicans have accused the FBI of abusing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process by relying heavily on the Democrat-funded Steele dossier to obtain four surveillance warrants against Page. The dossier alleges that Page, an energy consultant, was the Trump campaign’s back channel to the Kremlin. Page has vehemently denied the allegation.
Republicans claim that the dossier was unverified when the FBI relied on it to obtain the FISAs. They also claim that the FBI failed to disclose that the dossier was funded by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
Republicans have already called on Trump to declassify three other categories of documents: portions of the fourth and final FISA application against Page, FBI interview notes used in the Page surveillance warrant, and FBI interview notes with Bruce Ohr, the Justice Department official who was a back channel to dossier author Christopher Steele.
Trump has recently said that he is revisiting whether to declassify the documents. He said on Nov. 7 he is “very seriously” considering releasing the records.
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