On Monday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) released a video to explain the congressional Republicans’ position on the FISA memo released last week by the House Intelligence Committee.
McCarthy explained what he saw as Congress’ role was in an oversight capacity.
“It is Congress’s constitutional duty and responsibility to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch,” he said. “The American people deserve to know the facts and have a transparent and open government—even when it comes to the delicate balance between security and privacy. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act provides our government with the ability to utilize surveillance resources to protect American citizens. Because of the sensitivity of this process, it is imperative the American people have the utmost faith that applications to obtain warrants against American citizens are based on ironclad facts that provide strong evidence of a threat to the country.”
“In this case, the Intelligence Committee’s FISA memo makes clear that the full disclosure of facts to the court did not occur,” McCarthy added. “Most notably, it was omitted that the author of an unverified political document disclosed to the court was an ardent and paid-political opponent of President Trump. Protecting against this type of politicization of the intelligence process is a primary reason why the Intelligence Committee in the House of Representatives was created. As the committee prepares for the release of the minority memo, we must recommit that despite political differences, our single greatest responsibility is to protect the American people. Our law enforcement agencies do that dutifully every day and this oversight work ensures they will be able to continue to do that every day moving forward.”
Transcript as follows:
REP. TREY GOWDY: You have a right to know what happened with this FISA process and whether reforms are warranted.
REP. DEVIN NUNES: The American citizens that are represented before this court, have to be protected. And the only place that can protect them is the U.S. Congress.
NEWS CLIP 1: It has been the talk of Washington for weeks and today Republicans released a memo
NEWS CLIP 2: The memo reveals partisan bias at the Justice Department.
NEWS CLIP 3: Grassley and Graham confirmed the information and went further. Revealing that information was passed from British spy Christopher Steele through an intermediary close to the Clinton’s, and then to the State Department.
REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE: The Republican memo fairly raises questions about why certain facts were never disclosed to the FISA court.
NUNES: Political dirt was used by the FBI, and they knew it was political dirt to open a counter-intelligence investigation into the other campaign.
GOWDY: This dossier was paid for by the Democrat National Committee and Hillary Clinton. They hired a political opposition research firm, who hired Christopher Steele, who wrote it. See how easy and straightforward that is? It tells you the source with clarity and specificity. Now contrast that with the way it was presented to the court. For reasons the Democrats never can explain, the FISA application went to great lengths to avoid identifying a material point about the financial source behind the dossier.
NEWS CLIP 4: Neither the initial FISA application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts.
GOWDY: The Democrats claim Chris Steele was a reliable source. But he wound up being dismissed as a source by the FBI for two different reasons. And I n addition to that, Steele’s reliability isn’t really the seminal issue. He didn’t know of the facts firsthand. He repeated what sources in Russia were telling him. So for that matter, a parrot could have been the source. If all you are going to do is repeat back what nameless, faceless people in another country are telling you, your experience and expertise aren’t nearly as important as the reliability of the people you are listening to.
RATCLIFFE: The DOJ and FBI had four opportunities to disclose these facts in the original FISA application in each of three subsequent renewal applications over a nearly year-long period—but never did. Now the Democrats on the intelligence committee, who opposed the release of our Republican memo, have since prepared their own “counter” memo.
GOWDY: Every single Republican on the House Intelligence Committee voted to release the Democrat memo. Every, single one. On the other hand, not a single, solitary Democrat voted to release the Republican memo. Not, a single one.
The lead Democrat most responsible for the drafting of the Democrat memo is Rep. Adam Schiff. Rep. Schiff didn’t have much interest in finding out how much of the dossier was used, whether it was vetted before it was used, whether it was vetted for that matter after it was used, or who paid for it. Keep in mind they went to court to keep you from finding out who paid for the dossier.
RATCLIFFE: The American people will learn that the Democrats memo attacks Republicans for questioning the integrity of DOJ lawyers like Bruce Ohr and FBI agents like Peter Strozk, who have either been demoted or removed. The Democrats memo also defends the integrity of Christopher Steele as a reliable and credible source even though the FBI and Department of Justice terminated him.
NEWS CLIP 5: In September of 2016, Christopher Steele admitted to Justice Department official Bruce Ohr his feelings against then candidate Trump. Steele said he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being President.”
GOWDY: After all, we have FISA only because you consented to have it. With that consent comes the obligation of those entrusted with power to exercise that power judiciously and to answer legitimate questions when you have them. And asking questions of those in positions of power used to be something everyone could agree on.
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